NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15775923/15778911" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Who's the Fire Starter?

Who's the Fire Starter?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15775923/15778911" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sometimes, this is how the fire starts. Source: 96dotsperinch hide caption

toggle caption Source: 96dotsperinch

Whenever I hear news of a wildfire breaking out, my first assumption is that it was some sort of accident, an unfortunate and unpredictable combination of an innocent spark flying off of a piece of machinery and a particularly dry season. As authorities in California consider to search for a white Ford truck in connection with one of the largest fires, though, it seems I should know better. Most fires may not be set deliberately, but there are enough that are to inject a degree of skepticism into my assumption. So what motivates an arsonist? Control freak that I am, the thought of setting things in motion that I'll never be able to manage makes fire-starting sound darn scary to me... but that's clearly not true for everyone.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.