iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Analysis of forest fires causes and their motivations in northern Algeria: the Delphi method

O Meddour-Sahar (1)   , R Meddour (1), V Leone (2), R Lovreglio (3), A Derridj (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 6, Issue 5, Pages 247-254 (2013)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0098-006
Published: Jun 13, 2013 - Copyright © 2013 SISEF

Research Articles

Forest fires in Algeria are mostly human-caused and result from local social behavior, whether voluntary (arson) or involuntary (negligence). Understanding the reasons why fires start is, therefore, a crucial factor in preventing or reducing their incidence, developing significant prevention efforts and designing specific fire prevention campaigns. The Delphi method is a promising tool for improving knowledge about how fire starts and why, and above all helps reduce the number of fires started by unknown causes, the majority type in Algeria. The Delphi method uses a set of procedures for eliciting and refining the opinions of a panel of experts on a particular subject of interest. This method was used in three case studies, in coastal or inner wilayas (provinces) selected from a highly fire-prone area in north-central Algeria. Results showed the traditional use of fire in agriculture and forestry, in situations related to land use changes and in interpersonal conflicts are the major causes of voluntary fires. For involuntary events (negligence), experts unanimously identified the importance of the restart of fire, caused by fire crews who do not ensure the mopping up of controlled fires (91.49%) and the negligent use of agricultural fires, particularly stubble burning (80.14%). For voluntary fires (arson), results highlight the importance of fires set for land use changes (77.30%), pyromania (67.38%) and honey gathering (62.41%). Illegal dumping and burning of garbage was also mentioned by responders in all study-areas.


Agricultural Fires, Algeria, Delphi Method, Fire Motivations, Fire Causes, Panel of Fire Experts, Wilaya

Authors’ address

O Meddour-Sahar
R Meddour
A Derridj
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University Mouloud Mammeri, Box 17 RP, 15000 Tizi Ouzou (Algeria)
V Leone
Department of Crop Systems, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Basilicata, v.le dell’ Ateneo Lucano 10, I-85100 Potenza (Italy)
R Lovreglio
Department of Agriculture, Univesity of Sassari, v. Cristoforo Colombo 1, I-08100 Nuoro (Italy)

Corresponding author

O Meddour-Sahar


Meddour-Sahar O, Meddour R, Leone V, Lovreglio R, Derridj A (2013). Analysis of forest fires causes and their motivations in northern Algeria: the Delphi method. iForest 6: 247-254. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0098-006

Academic Editor

Renzo Motta

Paper history

Received: May 01, 2012
Accepted: Mar 26, 2013

First online: Jun 13, 2013
Publication Date: Oct 01, 2013
Publication Time: 2.63 months

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