Southern Woods-Burners: A Descriptive Analysis
About 40 percent of the South's nearly 60,000 wildfires yearly are set by woods-burners. A survey of 14 problem areas in four southern States found three distinct sets of woods-burners. Most active woods-burners are young, white males whose activities are supported by their peers. An older but less active group have probably retired from active participation but act as patriarchs of the burning community. A small group whose actions are generally disapproved of by the community and who are suspected of other illegal acts complete the major categories of woods-burners. To design fire prevention programs, planners need to keep in mind that most woods-burning is supported by the community. The isolation of rural communities will require opening of new channels of communication before prevailing attitudes can be changed.