Press Releases

Advisory on New Offence of Causing or Contributing to Risk of Dangerous Fire

Published: 27 December 2019

Deterring Rash or Negligent Behaviour that Causes or Contributes to Risk of Dangerous Fire

  1. The Criminal Law Reform Act (CLRA) was passed by Parliament on 6 May 2019 and will take effect on 1 Jan 2020. The CLRA introduced a new offence of causing or substantially contributing to the risk of a dangerous fire.


  2. This new offence will enable the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to take firmer action against individuals who do not properly dispose of lighted materials (such as cigarette butts) and in doing so cause or substantially contribute to the risk of a dangerous fire. As lighted materials tend to smoulder and may not cause a fire immediately[1], after the amendments are operationalised, a person will be presumed to have substantially contributed to the risk of causing a dangerous fire, if that fire occurs within 60 minutes at or in the vicinity of the place where that person threw, placed, dropped or deposited any thing likely to cause fire, unless the contrary is proven.


  3. Those found liable under this new offence can be punished with up to seven years imprisonment, and/or fined.


  4. SCDF routinely attends to fires caused by lighted materials. Between 2014 and 2018, SCDF attended to about 550 vegetation fires on average annually, many of which were caused by cigarette butts. As seen in other countries, these vegetation fires, if not prevented or controlled, can cause serious damage to life and property.

[1] Depending on the conditions, it may take minutes or over an hour for lighted materials to fully develop into a fire.


Law and order