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Michael Eburn

This chapter reviews the developing international law of wildfire and considers legal obligations to mitigate the risk of fire as well as legal arrangements to facilitate international firefighting. The chapter identifies three factors that make international law particularly relevant to wildfire. First, wildfire through smoke and haze may impact states well beyond the immediate impact of the flame. Second, and only to a limited extent, firefighting resources may be used to control a fire or, if the fire is too large to control, to protect vulnerable assets. Third, conditions in one country can have a direct impact upon the vulnerability of another as fuel load can carry a fire across national boundaries. These features of wildfire mean that states may have a direct interest in how other states prepare for and respond to wildfires burning within their territory. The chapter concludes with some recommendations to further enhance international cooperation in responding to wildfires.