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Prevent Youth Firesetting

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With the significant wildland fire potential being above normal and expected to increase as the summer months approach, the Reno Fire Department would like to remind parents to supervise children to ensure they do not play with fire along with educating them on the dangers of fire.
“Typically we see a substantial increase in the summer, when kids are out of school,” advises Tray Palmer, Reno Fire Prevention Captain. “Usually playing with fire is limited to smaller children under age eight who are simply curious, but in the last few years we have seen an alarming increase in older unsupervised kids setting vegetation or personal items on fire with boredom as an excuse. Sometimes these fires are confined to small areas, but many times these fires quickly spread and cause significant property damage and/or injuries.”

In 2011, Reno Fire Department investigators were able to rule the cause of 102 fires as intentionally set. Of these, at least 61 juveniles were involved. So far in 2012, the Reno Fire Department has investigated 36 intentionally set fires with at least 10 juveniles being involved.

The Reno Fire Department will take appropriate action upon determining that a fire has been started by a juvenile, up to and including charging the child with arson, which is a felony. Parents can also be held responsible for suppression costs and/or civil suits as a result of their children’s actions.The Reno Fire Department provides several training programs for schools, and has partnered with other local agencies on a youth firesetting intervention program for first time offenders. For information about fire prevention or the Regional Youth Firesetter Intervention Program contact the Reno Fire Department at 334-2300.

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