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Australia Why do people deliberately light bushfires?

05:00  13 november  2019
05:00  13 november  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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Police charged 50 people , 11 were volunteer firefighters. The number of deliberately lit fires always jumps during school holidays, with children Yesterday, when NSW was warned of catastrophic bushfires , police caught a nine-year-old boy who had used a blowtorch to light a grass fire in

What makes people , especially children and teenagers, light fires that can result in death, injury and destruction?

What kind of person defies catastrophic fire warnings and deliberately lights a potentially deadly bushfire, causing heartbreak and widespread devastation?

Most international studies have settled on a typical profile: White male, mid-20s, patchy employment record, often above average intelligence but poor academic achievement and stunted social development.

The motives behind the sinister act of bushfire arson are often staggering in their apparent simplicity.

a man smiling for the camera: Black Saturday arsonist Brendan James Sokaluk was found guilty of starting a fire that killed 10 people and destroyed 150 houses in Victoria's east in February 2009.© AAP Black Saturday arsonist Brendan James Sokaluk was found guilty of starting a fire that killed 10 people and destroyed 150 houses in Victoria's east in February 2009.

It is also a disturbingly common crime, with estimates up to half the 54,000 bushfires that hit Australia on average each year are deliberately lit or suspicious.

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as i watch the news, ive noticed lots of bushfires in my home state, some lit deliberately , why would you do such a thing and what punishment should offenders recieve? I don't know why anyone would be so cruel! People who do those things should be shot! I hope they get whats coming to them.

“Sometimes it’s things like deliberately throwing away lit cigarettes — deliberately doing it but not thinking about the consequences, or deliberately So for those people , the consequences are part of why they set it.” Those who are found guilty of setting bushfires can expect a hefty sentence.

According to a 2004 Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) report, many arsonists are loners and suffer from mental illness.

Fire starters often get a kick – sometimes a sexual thrill – from an act that makes them feel powerful, in contrast to all other aspects of their daily life.

The psychological pursuit of finding out what motivates someone to light a bushfire is important.

Figuring out the answer will save lives, and potentially cut back the $77 million of bushfire damage inflicted on private and public property in Australia each year.

a truck traveling down a train track with smoke coming out of it: A 2009 file photo showing fire fighters battling bushfires at the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, Victoria. The Black Saturday bushfires claimed the lives of at least 173 people.© AAP A 2009 file photo showing fire fighters battling bushfires at the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, Victoria. The Black Saturday bushfires claimed the lives of at least 173 people.

'The clever ones don't get caught'

Australians are all too aware of the devastation bushfires can cause, which makes the act all the more perplexing.

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Indigenous Australians lit bush fires to burn the undergrowth on the land so they could find the root plants they ate and be able to walk across the land. Unfortunately the bushfires occurred more in build (or human) environments, not so much natural, which is why it affected so many people .

Unfortunately the bushfires occurred more in build (or human) environments, not so much natural, which is why it affected so many people . Bushfires are, unfortunately, also commonly caused by man's activities, whether arson or unintentionally lighting the fires such as by tossing cigarettes out of

Dr Paul Read, an Australian ecological criminologist, told nine.com.au that only a very small percentage of arsonists are arrested, perhaps as few as one per cent.

"Arsonists are usually angry, bitter and of low intelligence – but we only know this from the ones who get caught," he said.

"The clever ones don't get caught. They can be very versatile criminals, and arson is just one element of their repertoire."

Dr Read has conducted significant research into bushfire arson in Australia. Most bushfire arsonists are "odd" and have been rejected by the community.

"The typical profile really is 'weird Pete down the road'," he said.

The most dangerous bushfire arsonists are women aged in their 30s and 40s, and men over 50.

"The older they get, the more fascinated they become."

a car parked on the side of a dirt road: The devastating consequences of Black Saturday arsonist Brendan Sokaluk are shown in this 2009 photo, depicting the burned out cars in which two people died. Sokaluk was found guilty of killing 10 people.© AAP The devastating consequences of Black Saturday arsonist Brendan Sokaluk are shown in this 2009 photo, depicting the burned out cars in which two people died. Sokaluk was found guilty of killing 10 people.

Who is Black Saturday arsonist Brendan Sokaluk?

Australia's most notorious bushfire arson is Brendan Sokaluk, a former Victorian Country Fire Authority volunteer, who killed 10 people after he deliberately lit a bushfire on Black Saturday.

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People who deliberately light bushfires should be mandatory imprisoned because to deliberately light bushfires in Australia is to commit the ultimate act of vandalism. The Australian bush is designed to burn. Some native plant seeds do not germinate until they are burned. Fire has always been a part

Convicted arsonist Dave explains what went through his mind on the day he lit a fire on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Sokaluk became one of Victoria's worst killers in 2009 when his fire killed 10, razed more than 150 homes and destroyed 36,000 hectares of land.

He always denied he deliberately lit the fire, instead telling police he had thrown cigarette ash out his car window.

A judge sentenced Sokaluk, then 42, to 17 years and nine months in jail.

FBI criminal profilers believe arsonists fall into three categories, defined by motivation: thrill-seekers, attention-seekers and those chasing recognition.

Arsonists driven by the need for recognition will often report the fire or be actively involved in fighting the fire.

It is not uncommon for attention and recognition seekers to stay and admire their work, while thrill-seekers are typically opportunists and likely to flee the scene.

According to the AIC, the NSW police force's Strikeforce Tronto investigated 1500 suspicious fires from 2001 to 2004. Police charged 50 people, 11 were volunteer firefighters.

The number of deliberately lit fires always jumps during school holidays, with children recklessly playing with fire and matches.

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Some people deliberately light fires in the bush. Sometimes lightning strikes a tree in the bush. People toss aside lit cigarettes in the bush. Strong sunlight shines on some broken glass in the bush. Fire brigades do backburning in the bush (controlled bushfires , often in winter).

Bushfires 1: Understanding bushfires . Expert reviewers. Dr Rachael Nolan. Being able to predict bushfires means we can more effectively warn people , prevent loss of life and avoid catastrophic damage to property and infrastructure. Some were deliberately lit .

Yesterday, when NSW was warned of catastrophic bushfires, police caught a nine-year-old boy who had used a blowtorch to light a grass fire in Worrigee.

Fire departments across Australia run intervention and programs targeting minors and youths who have shown a potentially unhealthy fascination with fire.

a group of people on a dirt road: Two people died inside this house which was burned to the ground in a bushfire started by former volunteer fireman Brendan Sokaluk.© AAP Two people died inside this house which was burned to the ground in a bushfire started by former volunteer fireman Brendan Sokaluk.

Prevention is the key

Dr Read is critical at what he claims is a lack of state and federal government funding directed towards bushfire arson prevention.

"Most communities know or suspect who the arsonist is. They have a pretty damn good idea."

Teachers, scout masters and doctors are well-placed to identify youth who have a proclivity to arson, he said. These community figures need access to publicly funded programs that share information and intercept at risk individuals, he added.

"Governments are usually too reactive. They want to catch people, lock them up and throw away the key."

Law enforcement has developed successful modelling of serial killers and mass shooters, and Australia needed to do more in this behavioural area for bushfire arson, he said.

"We have the power to significantly reduce the number of arson attacks, but the political will is not there."

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Bushfires continue to burn across NSW .
Close to 60 bushfires continue to burn across NSW, while smoke that blanketed the city is expected to return over the weekend.While there are no total fire bans in place for Friday the NSW RFS tweeted a warning that warm weather is set to continue.

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