Fire Ignition by Arson

It seems many of the fires that have been burning in Spain recently have been caused by arson. Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon in Spain (or the Med as a whole) where over 95% of fires are human-caused (indirectly or directly).

So, how do we account for this in any model of wildfire regimes? Regarding the location of ignition, is arson more likely near or far from other human activity? What is the frequency of arson ignitions in a region linked to? Economic conditions? High levels of land tenure fragmentation (and therefore more borders across which farmers might conflict)?

As always there’s much work to do on these questions. In large part, accurate assessment of arson ignitions is likely to be dependent upon psychological understanding as much as anything else. For me, I’ll concentrate on the potential influence of increased tourism in rural areas and the consequent ‘accidental’ ignitions.

More fire pictures

Update: More comments on this blog post have been posted here

3 thoughts on “Fire Ignition by Arson

  1. Hi James, Just say, this thing of the fires in Galicia is taking disproportionate dimensions, but surely it has to do more with political conflicts (local and regional) economic interests and drug dealing than anything else… Fire makes me so sad that I can never understand it. Anyway, this is not news and less in Galicia. The new law, that which bans the urbanizations of burned land in 30 years seems to have had the opposite effect… Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I have put a link to your blog in my own one which is called “A ray of light”http://aventurasennigeria.blogspot.comIt is in Spanish, although I don’t talk so much about the landscape as about our cultural differences between england and britain. You are welcomed to visit me on the web. Cheers, Vane

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  2. Hey Vanesa,Yeah I heard local political disputes can lead to many fires, but at regional levels too? And so who’s dealing the drugs? The landowners? How does it lead to people burning one another’s land? Elsewhere in the world it seems dealers shoot each other – in Galicia they burn each other’s land? My study area is just west of Madrid – click on the ‘Research’ link at the top of the blog to find a description.Thanks for the link! I’ll post a link back …I’ll give you a text when I’m next in London and we’ll go for a beer to catch up and talk some more?Cheers,James

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