Wildfire has laid siege to California, threatening homes and prompting evacuations. California has had problems with wildfires in the past and while many people point the finger at natural causes, particularly the dry weather, arson could be a possible cause. We refer to such an arsonist as a wildland arsonist. It is easy to associate arson with urban centers, especially downtrodden cities with many abandoned buildings. News outlets report many of these cases, so the public is not in the dark. Arsonists, however, come in many shapes and sizes.
In the article, “Add wildland arson to reasons for earlier ban on campfires,” AZ Daily Sun reports, “Unless he [the arsonist] is somehow acting strangely right before he strikes the match, there is little clue beforehand that he is a risk to the woods and any structures nearby.” In other words, the arsonist is tough to profile. Often a loner, the arsonist is not much for public attention. How do you prevent such a person from doing just about anything? It is that much tougher when the person is a wildland arsonist, simply because the crime takes place in a depopulated area.
The area around Flagstaff, much like California, has been a victim of wildfire, as recent as last Thursday. Authorities believe an arsonist was behind the blazes and brought in a suspect on Sunday. The suspect appeared to be mentally unstable. Whether or not the suspect has psychological issues, one thing is clear: wildland arson is almost impossible to prevent, as the article points out. The depopulated forest areas plus the arson mindset is a recipe for disaster. The article has only one solution: hypervigilance.
Hypervigilance does have a drawback. It may lead to profiling. Is there any other solution though? Suspicious-looking characters do stick out in a depopulated area, more so than in a city. Nevertheless, arson is on the rise in all areas of the country. As the dog days of summer near, we must be mindful in both depopulated and populated areas. The need for arson investigators has never been greater. If you are in the Illinois area and suspect arson, contact John Michael Agosti & Associates.
You can find the AZ Daily Sun article here.