"In-situ burning is the combustion of a spill product at the site of the spill (in situ is Latin for 'in place'.) In-situ burning of oil may offer a logistically simple, rapid, inexpensive, and relatively safe means for reducing the net environmental impact of an oil spill. Because a large portion of the oil is converted to gaseous combustion products, the need for collection, storage, transport, and disposal of recovered material can be substantially reduced. […] While the main purpose of this brief review is to present the major human health and safety considerations of in-situ burning, mentioning the greater health aspects that affect our environment and, ultimately, our quality of life is definitely warranted. We will touch on a few points only. These points include the feasibility of burning the oil as opposed to leaving it to evaporate, waste generation, and possible effects on exposed wildlife."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov