Think About It: Fire Follies - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

June 18, 2012

Think About It: Fire Follies

I'm not sure exactly how the police and fire departments can determine it, but apparently about 40% of the wildfires we keep hearing about locally are being maliciously set. On Oahu, we don't see much lightning, which is a big fire culprit on the mainland, and we don't have any lava issues, so it might seem that the 40% number is an under-estimation, that more fires are being purposely set by people intent on causing harm and wreaking havoc. The effects on families and neighborhoods can be catastrophic; it's bad for the ecosystem; all of this is obvious.

Yes, cigarettes tossed randomly and campfires not properly extinguished might be culprits from time to time, and there are the occasional accidents from sparks or electrical outlets, but it is still hard to fathom what possible pleasure someone can get from anonymously setting off fireworks or tossing matches in a deliberate attempt to cause pain and suffering. Pathological arsonists tend to be solitary offenders. A recent study showed that over 84% of arsonists are male and half are under the age of 18; the FBI stated that almost a third of arsonists are under the age of 15. 

Arson might be a cry for help, a grab for some warped sense of power by those who feel powerless or homeless, a plea to be heard from someone feeling ignored, etc. But the bottom line is that the public needs to be more aware and more wary, especially those who live around areas that tend to see brush fires every summer. These fire fanatics need to be caught and make news when they are put away, not for when they see their destruction played out in newscast after newscast every summer. Think about it...


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