Adding to the toxicity of Australia’s bushfires themselves is the constant politicization of them and the need to always point the finger to blame someone.
As I have previously mentioned social media-mainstream media mobs are using the bushfires to advance climate change politics and are doing their best to blame Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not adequately preparing the nation or preventing the bushfires.
As donations from ordinary Australians and celebrities pour in, coupled with the bushfires being downgraded to advice level some of the online rage has subsided.
Now is the time to rationally explore what are the real causes of Australia’s recent bushfire season which at present has claimed 27 lives, killed 500 million animals, destroyed close to 2000 homes and burned 8.4million hectares of land. It’s in all our interests to learn and prevent a similar large scale burn and natural disaster next season.
Deliberately Lit Fires and Arson
The media to its credit this bushfire season have reported on arrests of those who are accused of deliberately starting bushfires. In recent days we have privy to the total numbers of people charged with lightning fires.
NSW Police have confirmed they have charged 183 people for bushfire related offenses since November 8, 24 of those were charged with deliberately lighting bushfires. The other charges for bushfire related offenses include 53 people for failing to comply with a total fire ban and against 47 people for discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.
Queensland Police have concluded that 103 of fires in the state have been deliberately lit, identifying 98 suspects including, 67 juveniles, having been identified as the culprits.
Back in November Dr Paul Read a co-director of the National Centre for Research in Bushfire and Arson wrote an op-ed in the Fairfax newspapers stating that around 85 percent of bushfires are caused by humans either deliberately or accidentally starting them. Bushfires are man-made, but not via the climate change method.
Read broke those figures down further “About 85 percent are related to human activity, 13 percent confirmed arson and 37 percent suspected arson,” he said. “The remainder are usually due to reckless fire lighting or even just children playing with fire.”
Read also said there was a link between school holidays and youths starting fires “School holidays are a prime time for firebugs, but especially over summer. The kids have got time to get out there and light, and the most dangerous adults choose hot days.”
With Australian summers known for bushfires the fact that there are so many being deliberately lit which burn farmlands, national parks, homes and take animal and human life is extremely alarming and distressing. You could say that firebugs are Australia’s version of mass shootings given the grief bushfire tragedies bring our nation.
Causes of Arson
So given that destruction why do people deliberately light fires? Clinical psychology gives us an explanation as many arsonists have impulse control disorder called Pyromania. This is where an individual has repeatedly failed to resist impulses to deliberately start fires.
The causes of Pyromania range from parental neglect, early physical or emotional abuse or early observation of inappropriate fire usage. Treatment has been proven to work on children and adolescents through cognitive behavioral therapy however treatment and recovery of adults have proven extremely ineffective.
Some arsonists are even motivated by a sexual fetish called Pyrophilia. This is defined as when an individual derives gratification from fire and fire-starting activity. It is not a stretch to say that this sexual perversion damage on our society is up there with pedophilia.
What can be done to address this arson problem? First is the proper punishment of arsonists by our justice system to deter such crimes in the future and to protect the community. Let us hope there are no arguments that arsons should not receive a harsh punishment because climate change made their deliberately lit fires more destructive than the arsonist intended.
The second is community watch. On high fire danger days, residents and police should be on patrol for any sign of suspicious activity in bushland or areas of high vegetation.
The third is the prevention of Pyromania which as was stated above starts in childhood either from neglect or abuse or from attempts by children to light things on fire. Pyromania would appear to be another social cost of the breakdown of the family unit and community cohesion.
Arson is of course just one cause of Australia’s current bushfire season. The need for more fuel hazard reduction and backburning have already been discussed. Fireproofing properties and investing in ariel water bombers are also on the agenda.
Let us explore all direct contributing factors to the recent bushfires, don’t simply blame the abstract theory of man-induced climate change. Only through implementing direct measurable bushfire prevention strategies can we hope to better manage Australia’s long battle against the seasonal bushfires.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy my analysis of why the left have been going after Tony Abbott, despite his outstanding lifetime of service to this country here.
This link provides a complete list of the ways and organisations you can donate to assist with bushfire relief.