HE is about 19 years old and commits his crime alone.
He is an underachiever, unskilled, erratically employed, often from a broken home, perhaps with a history of foster or state care.
He is most likely single and feels socially inadequate.
He is an opportunist who uses unsophisticated methods to start the destruction.
Yeah, sounds like half the delinquents in Oz. What I find frightening is the belief that:
...up to two-thirds of Australian bushfires, which cost the nation more than $77 million a year in lost property, stock, grazing and pasture land and wildlife, are deliberately lit by these loners.
Scary stuff indeed. However, tracking the origin of the fire seems like an interesting art (or science).
There are key indicators, such as leaf set or the fire-frozen leaves that point to where the fire went, ash deposits that indicate fire direction and the way fire wraps around tree trunks.
"We have often got down to the last 4cm on a fire ground and then, lo and behold, we have found the device or the probable cause," Crosweller says.In Australia, there has been considerable work done by applied mathematicians (the best kind of mathematicians) to model the spread of bush fires with computer simulations (finite element analysis, I believe, the same methods are used to model the flow of air around aircraft and the spread of heat and electricity through various materials).
Just another use for applied mathematicians, I say. In the meantime, keep an eye out for any delinquents carrying petrol cans...