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Bushfire arson : a review of the literature

Research and public policy series no. 61

Matthew Willis
ISBN 0 642 53851 4 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2004


This monograph provides a review of previous studies on arson and deliberate firesetting, beginning with an examination of Australian and overseas research on arson in urban-structural settings. Particular emphasis is given to looking at the motives and profiles of people who light fires. The report then examines the factors underlying arson in Australian bushland settings and how the knowledge gained from earlier studies can be applied to bushfire arson. The report considers the impacts of deliberately lit bushfires and looks at issues around prevention of bushfire arson and treatment of arson offenders. The author presents a typology of deliberately lit bushfires and gives special consideration to firesetting by children and firefighters. The report concludes with proposed directions for future work to build our understanding of bushfire arson.

This report was prepared by the Australian Instutute of Criminology for the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Australian Capital Territory and the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

Australian Institute of Criminology Department of Justice and Community Safety, Australian Capital Territory Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre