Arson, often thought of as an urban issue, is also prevalent in wildland/urban interface and can be much more destructive. According to Cal Fire, from 2010 to 2014, arsonists set approximately 910 wildfires in California alone, about 6 percent of the state’s total. Those fires consumed more than 121,000 acres. While the U.S. Forest Service says that 90 percent of wildfires across the nation are human caused, the vast majority of those are the result of negligence, not intent—forgotten campfires or sparks from target-practice bullets don’t count as wildfire arson. Arson is a purposeful act.
NFPA's Lucian Deaton takes the time in his NFPA Journal column this month to look at the problem of arson in the wildland and suggest work that can be done to reduce, and hopefully eventually, eliminate this source of wildfire.