Fire With Fire


Interesting story out of California, where two brothers may go to jail for setting a back fire on their own property to protect against approaching wildfires. They set the blaze in defiance of direct orders from local authorities.

As it turns out, the back fires saved the brothers' home, as well as the homes of several people who rented from them, and potentially an entire neighborhood.

Emergencies can often call for a different set of rules (remember the post-Katrina euthanasia cases?). A little prosecutorial discretion would go a long way, here.

Matt Welch defended "apartheid fire protection" in our January 2008 issue.

MORE:  I should add, here, that had the back fire caused damage to others' property, I'd have no problem with holding the brothers financially liable.  But there was no criminal intent, here.  Their intent was to preserve their property, and that of their neighbors.  And they succeeded.