Wildfire cause analysis through Delphi method: a study-case

Raffaella Lovreglio, Maria Joao Rodrigues, Giuseppe Silletti, Vittorio Leone


Forest fires in Italy are mainly an anthropogenic event, which directly depends on social behavior, whether voluntary or involuntary. Despite the progress in knowledge about the physical facets of the phenomenon, its causes and motives remain scarcely known or unknown.
The outcome is often an over-emphasis on fire suppression while inadequate attention is given to addressing the underlying causes of fires. Filling this gap is crucial to mount significant prevention efforts.
This paper describes the implementation of the Delphi method (an interactive expert-questionnaire process) in order to assess why fires start in a high fire-prone area (the province of Taranto).
Delphi method permitted to identify the recurrent motivations of involuntary (mainly stubble burning or negligent use of fire in agriculture) and voluntary fires (mainly fire caused by the creation or renewal of pastures at the expense of forests, i.e. elimination of trees/brushes and wild land cleaning for pasture improvement.


Delphi method; kernel density; fire causes; fire industry; fire motive; iterative process; panel of experts; voluntary fires.

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