If someone had a house with nothing flammable near it, and they wanted to burn it down (no one is inside or near it, and no fraud is involved, and nothing that releases harmful chemicals when burned is in the house), is that legal? If not, is it arson or something else?

  • 2
    Greta Thunberg might be after you.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:40
  • 1
    /me googles "who is Greta Thunburg"
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:41
  • 1
    /me reads the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on her and understands why she would care about me burning down my house
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:43
  • 1
    Burning a house down is inherently dangerous. So you would have to be very, very careful to do it without causing any danger.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


Arson is really about why you're doing it, and if anyone else has in interest in the property.

In the US state of Georgia, you can burn your own stuff if it's solely yours, you have no insurance, mortgage or lien on it, it's not to screw over your spouse, or when it won't hurt someone. I assume Oregon is similar.

Now, uncontrolled fires will have different prohibitions. A house-sized fire is probably against local ordinances without fire marshall approval.

  • Does this apply to plain wood, or to paint, insulation, cables, etc.?
    – o.m.
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 16:20
  • as others mentioned, if you want to burn down your ouse, the local fire department might use it for training.
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 21:30

Check with the local fire station. You will probably be required to get a permit for a large fire, but firefighters are sometime interested in participating in burns of condemned buildings because they can get training from it.

  • So it could violate local regulations, but it's not arson if you own the house?
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:05
  • Why would it be arson? I regularly burn branches in my backyard, is that arson? Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:10
  • I wasn't sure there wasn't a rule that burning a house without a fire department involved was always arson, or something similar. I didn't think so, but I was just curious.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:20
  • 3
    And there may be regulations about the type of material you can burn. Asphalt shingles? They make horrendous black smoke. So does carpet, vinyl window frames, sofas, etc. But if it's all wood and the fire department approves it as safe then have at it. The police won't care, the firemarshall may... Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:25
  • 2
    I can't talk about Oregon in particular, but I expect it to be a gross violation of environmental regulations.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:28

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