Usually when there are fire bans, both alcohol and esbit stoves are banned. Here in the Pacific NW during fire season, the USFS and the states allow only stoves with an on-off switch and that are certified by Underwriters Laboratories.
While some large wildfires have been started by careless use or accidental spillage of alcohol stoves, I've never heard that esbit caused a problem, especially since the flames can be blown out and the partially burnt tablet can be reused. Chalk this one up to the same bureaucrats who claim that "jellied gasoline" is an OK fuel, obviously not realizing that jellied gasoline is napalm! However, your trip will definitely be more pleasant if you avoid unpleasant ranger encounters and fines.
Any stove, of course, can start a fire if you use it in or near tall vegetation (see the photos in the "evil cows" thread, not that I'm implying any wrongdoing, but just as an example of where not to use your stove) or on organic soil such as pine needle duff (the top-mounted isobutane stoves can tip over, and liquid-fueled stoves can flare up when lit). In other words, find a gravel bar in the creek or at least clear the vegetation and organic material around your stove.
Edited by OregonMouse (09/22/15 04:48 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey