Wildfire Arson Prevention Guide  book cover
1st Edition

Wildfire Arson Prevention Guide

  • Available for pre-order on March 3, 2023. Item will ship after March 24, 2023
ISBN 9781032405940
March 24, 2023 Forthcoming by CRC Press
128 Pages 58 Color Illustrations

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USD $54.95

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Book Description

Wildfire arson is often considered an impossible crime to solve. Likewise, offenders frequently consider themselves undetectable. Many agencies often do not have the specialist skills necessary to investigate those responsible for serial wildfire ignitions. As such, perpetrators continue to light fires with little to no likelihood of being caught. An ongoing series of deliberately lit wildfires can result in significant financial and environmental consequences and put life and property at risk.  

This Wildlife Arson Prevention Guide provides law enforcement, land management and fire agency investigators with frameworks, strategies and tactics—that can be adopted to address deliberate wildfire ignitions in their jurisdiction. Often this crime is automatically given to law enforcement agencies to solve in isolation, whereas a collaborative approach across key agencies has proven essential in apprehending offenders.

This valuable guidebook fills a void in the literature, detailing a collaborative approach through the adoption of successful best practice investigation techniques. Many may be applicable to—and better serve—smaller rural communities, while others can be adopted in more populated wildfire-prone areas. This book recognises that some small rural agencies may have less capacity to address the issue and may need to modify the recommended methods; ideally, the text encourages the establishment of collaborative arrangements to work with larger or adjoining agencies, to help solve their serial wildfire arson cases. This book highlights successfully adopted measures that can be embraced by key agencies that have a responsibility in wildfire ignition prevention.  

Currently, no similar all-encompassing handbook exists to guide agencies to address this growing worldwide problem. The strategies and tactics are presented in a format that can be easily aligned to jurisdictions within countries that are at risk of wildfire. The commonly recognised motives behind wildfire arson are detailed to provide agency investigators with a background to this often-misunderstood offence.

The Wildlife Arson Prevention Guide provides the tools that will help authorities to identify those responsible and result in stronger, safer communities.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Recognized Wildfire Arson Motives 2: The Wildfire Arson Investigation Challenge 3: Investigation Cooperation and Collaboration 4: Analysis of Wildfire Events 5: Collaborative Wildfire Investigation Tactics 6: Community Engagement 7: Firefighter Arson 8: Training 9: Conclusion 

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Richard Woods, AFSM has had 39-year career initially in law enforcement and later in rural fire management in Australia. He established the fire investigation capability for the NSW Rural Fire Service and as a long-term member of North American National Wildfire Co-ordinating Group Wildland Fire Investigation Sub Committee, introduced the Wildland Fire Investigation Case Development Course to Australia. In 2010, as Co-Chair of the National Bushfire Arson Prevention Working Group, he developed Australia’s Bushfire Arson Prevention arrangements. He is an Adjunct Lecturer in Wildfire Investigation with Charles Sturt University and is the Director of an international consultancy, ‘Wildfire Investigations and Analysis’. He is the current Chair of the International Association of Arson Investigators Wildland Fire Investigation Committee. In 2013, he was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal for his commitment to wildfire investigation. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Fire Investigation and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Management.


"I have known and worked closely with Richard Woods for over 20 years. In my opinion, he is one of the top wildland fire investigators in the world.  He has played an integral role in both the development and the international delivery of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's wildfire investigation training and certification packages and accompanying guidebook. This book that Richard has authored, is an excellent introduction and overview of these advanced wildfire investigation practices and an important addition to the fire investigator’s bookshelf." - Paul Steensland, United States Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, Senior Special Agent, (ret.), USA


"As the global community grapples with the immense challenges brought about by a changing climate that continues to increase the intensities and frequencies of wildfires, not only in traditional fire prone areas across the world, but in new areas where fire has not previously been experienced, the authoring of this Wildfire Arson Prevention Guide is both timely and essential. This is the first time that such an array of knowledge, skills, and experience have been brought together under one cover to reveal how individuals, agencies, and governments who are responsible for the protection of citizens and communities from wildfire can improve their competency and confidence in understanding their causes. It is only by getting to the root cause of ignitions and putting in place strategies and programs to minimise their occurrence can we be confident that climate extremes conducive to catastrophic fire weather conditions do not result in catastrophic wildfires. I highly commend this Guidebook to anyone who has a professional or personal interest in building safer communities in the face of such an overwhelming force of nature. Richard’s experience and wisdom gained over more than 40 years is infused throughout and his methodological approach greatly assists in making a complex science easy to understand and even easier to implement." - Mark Crosweller AFSM, Founder and Director Ethical Intelligence, Australia


"Richard Woods has written an easily accessible book, designed to assist law enforcement and fire agency personnel responsible for addressing the cause of wildfires. This guide is about proven practice and practical approaches. It is designed specifically for wildfire investigators tackling the problem of serial wildfire ignitions. The tone is instructive and Richard certainly has the credibility in this specialist field. After many years of investigating wildfires and training officers, he is recognised as Australia’s preeminent authority on wildfire investigation and thus represents Charles Sturt University as an adjunct lecturer, providing opinion on the cause of wildfires. You will find this guide a valuable tool and I highly recommend it to investigators in the field of wildfire investigation." - Valerie Ingham, Charles Sturt University, Australia.