Fire and Youth Intervention – Commonly Asked Questions

Is it normal for children to play with lighters and matches?

While curiosity about fire is common, some children light fires for other reasons. A change or crisis such as a move, death or divorce, may result in firesettting. This behavior can be the child’s way of acting out fear or anxiety. Some children set fires to get attention or to oppose authority. Other behaviors in addition to firesetting may reflect more serious emotional problems and require the services of community mental health professionals. Proper intervention can help youth who misuse fire.

Is it a phase?

Juvenile firesetting and youth fire misuse is extremely dangerous and should not be dismissed as a phase or simple curiosity. Do not ignore it! Left alone it may cause severe property damage or even loss of life. Early recognition and treatment of firesetting can help prevent tragedies in the future.

My child lit a small fire, should I be concerned?

Every fire starts small. Fire moves fast and can get out of control very quickly. Any time a child starts a fire, he endangers himself and the people around him.