The full potential for in situ burning as a controlled oil spill response technique is a subject of growing interest throughout the world. Information now available from burning oil during accidental fires, war-related fires in Kuwait, spillage from the Exxon Valdez, and controlled test burns, permits an objective and comprehensive assessment of both the positive and negative aspects of in situ burning. A thorough analysis has been made of direct and indirect impacts and concerns typically associated with the decision, to burn or not to burn. These factors, together with the comparative costs of various response techniques, have been identified and described to provide spill control planners and response organizations with a means of assessing the potential use of burning to clean up offshore oil spills.

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