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Why Children Set fires

Children set fires for many reasons, including intimidation, curiosity, peer pressure, crisis situations and imitating an adult. The following is a list of "red flags" or indicators that your child may have a serious firesetting problem. If your child has set more than one fire or has had more than one incident of fireplay and one or more of the following, you are encouraged to seek professional intervention and help.

  • Aggressive behavior toward people or animals
  • Attention deficits, temper tantrums, mood swings, impulsive behavior or excessive anger
  • Behaviors indicating they are a loner, a risk-taker or a fighter
  • Boasts about fire sets
  • Daydreams about fire
  • Deliberate efforts to collect fire materials
  • Failed to get help to extinguish fire
  • Family stresses
  • Fire set deliberately to harm others or to destroy property
  • Fire set out of anger or in response to a family problem
  • History of being abused or neglected
  • Other troublesome behaviors, such as stealing, lying and drug or alcohol use
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Problems at school, such as discipline, learning problems or unexplained absences
  • Recent changes in behavior
  • Recent losses due to health, divorce, loss of friendships, moves, etc.
  • Sad, withdrawn appearance
  • Shows extreme curiosity about fire


For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact our Fire Marshal at 970-453-2474 or by email.

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