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Why do Children and Adolescents Set Fires?

While curiosity about fire is common, fire setting is NOT- It is quite dangerous and deadly










































York County Youth Fire Safety and Intervention Collaborative is a program of

York County Emergency Management Agency


Most experts agree the best way to understand why children or adolescents set fires is to look at the motivations for fire setting. Motives can include:


  • Curiosity or experimentation

  • A cry for help

  • Thrill seeking

  • Peer pressure

  • Intent to cause destruction

  • Behavioral and emotional disorders

Easy access to matches and lighters

Children and teens know where to find lighters and matches in the home- even if you think you have them safety stored.


Failure to practice fire safety in the home

Young children, teens and adults often lack the understanding of the dangers associated with fire setting and safety rules around fire.


Easy access to information on the internet

Technology has made explicit media available to youths about a number of dangerous and often illegal activities for them to try and replicate.


Lack of Supervision

Consistent supervision by adults decreases the opportunity to set fires.

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