Why Do Arsonists Start Wildfires?

Cal Fire says that among the wildfires for which they can determine a cause, most of the fires usually begin with a vehicle.

Drivers will pull off the road for a variety of reasons and sometimes, they pull away from the road into an area that sometimes has some grass or weeds or brush.  And all it takes is for a catalytic converter or an exhaust to spark a flame and a tiny fire soon becomes a larger fire.

That’s what they think happened to start the big Lilac Fire in San Diego County last December, a fire that destroyed dozens of homes and killed dozens of horses.

While vehicles may be responsible for starting a lot of fires, there also are those that are started by a weed wacker or a power tool.  That’s why Cal Fire so often sends out reminders about being more careful and not being irresponsible in areas where fires can so quickly start.

But every so often, wildfires are started by someone on purpose.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes arsonists are responsible. 

There was Monday’s fire in the San Pasqual Valley that threatened dozens of homes and hundreds of animals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a fire that investigators believe was purposely set.

And there was the big fire north of San Diego that was started by an arsonist in Holy Jim Canyon in Orange County, a fire that has destroyed some homes and threatened thousands more.

What would make a person purposely set a fire that can destroy so much property and sometimes lives?

That will be left to criminologists and psychologists to figure out.  The rest of us just want arsonists to face the strictest penalty to deter others from even thinking about doing something that can cause so much harm in a state that is experiencing its worst wildfire season.

See more on why arsonists set fires.

(Photo credit Getty Images)


San Pasqual Fire August 2018   10News


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