Preventing and Reducing Bushfire Arson in Australia: A Review of What is Known

Classify & Cross-ref
Community Safety
Project Reference: 
TitlePreventing and Reducing Bushfire Arson in Australia: A Review of What is Known
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBeale, J, Jones, W
JournalFire Technology
Pagination507 - 518
Date Published4/2011
AbstractBushfires are the leading cause of death and injuries from natural disasters in Australia, are responsible for hundreds of millions dollars in economic losses every year and seriously affect the country’s ecosystems. National data shows that half of these fires are deliberately lit with a significant proportion of these ignitions due to arson. This indicates the importance of arson research in any attempt to reduce unplanned fires. Strategies to prevent bushfire arson are examined from a criminological perspective. Much of the research on bushfire arson to date has focussed on identifying the motivations of arsonists and the paper shows the lack of utility of this approach. The difficulty of screening arsonists from employment with fire agencies is also discussed. More productive strategies include identifying and working with communities with high arson potential and early interventions with known arsonists or those at high risk of becoming one. The deterrence value of higher penalties is examined. The paper concludes that better data on bushfire ignitions and working with high risk communities and individuals offer the best chance of minimising bushfire ignitions in Australia at the present time.
Short TitleFire Technol
Refereed DesignationRefereed