iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Wildfire cause analysis: four case-studies in southern Italy

R Lovreglio (1)   , V Leone (1), P Giaquinto (1), A Notarnicola (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 8-15 (2010)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0521-003
Published: Jan 22, 2010 - Copyright © 2010 SISEF

Research Articles

Forest fires in Italy are mainly caused by humans, and directly depend on social behavior, whether voluntary (arson) or involuntary (negligence). Despite the progress in knowledge made with studying the physical facets of the phenomenon, causes and motives of human-related fire remain mostly unknown. This paper proposes the implementation of the Delphi method (an interactive expert-questionnaire process) in order to assess why fires are ignited. In four study cases, within a high fire incidence area (southern Italy), the Delphi technique identified as major cause of negligence the use of fire in agriculture and, as major causes of voluntary fires, motives related to seasonal labor. The main results in terms of frequency are: (i) for involuntary events (negligence), experts unanimously identified the relevant importance of negligent use of agricultural fires, particularly stubble burning (13.99% of responses). For (ii) voluntary fires (arson), results highlight the relative importance of fires ignited by seasonal workers as an instrument to force or maintain employment (8.41% of responses).


Delphi method, Fire causes, Agricultural fires, Ignition motives, Arson fires, Negligent fires, Panel of fire experts

Authors’ address

R Lovreglio
V Leone
P Giaquinto
Department of Crop Systems, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Basilicata, v.le dell’Ateneo Lucano 10, I-85100 Potenza (Italy)
A Notarnicola
Department of Psychology, University of Bari, p.zza Umberto I 1, I-70122 Bari (Italy)

Corresponding author


Lovreglio R, Leone V, Giaquinto P, Notarnicola A (2010). Wildfire cause analysis: four case-studies in southern Italy. iForest 3: 8-15. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0521-003

Academic Editor

Agostino Ferrara

Paper history

Received: Aug 29, 2009
Accepted: Oct 28, 2009

First online: Jan 22, 2010
Publication Date: Jan 22, 2010
Publication Time: 2.87 months

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