How do investigators determine if a wildfire was caused by arson?

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How do investigators determine if a wildfire was caused by arson?

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The wildfire that killed five firefighters and burned more than 40,000 acres in Esperanza, Calif., in October 2006 was determined almost immediately to have been the result of arson. While investigators were careful not to release the details that led them to this decision so quickly, there are certain techniques that investigators use when trying to find the cause of a fire. Investigating a wildfire is usually harder than investigating a building fire, because there are so many more environmental factors involved when the blaze is out in the open. But the primary techniques are the same. It all starts with finding the point of origin. Wildfire Image Gallery Wildfires have very specific ways of behaving. Even with the unpredictability of nature and the seemingly out-of-control behavior of a fire burning through acres and acres of forest, there are

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­The wildfire that killed five firefighters and burned more than 40,000 acres in Esperanza, Cali­f., in October 2006 was determined almost immediately to have been the result of arson. While investigators were careful not to release the details that led them to this decision so quickly, there are certain techniques that inves­tigators use when trying to find the cause of a fire. Investigating a wildfire is usually harder than investigating a building fire, because there are so many more environmental factors involved when the blaze is out in the open. But the primary techniques are the same. It all starts with finding the point of origin. ­Wildfires have very specific ways of behaving. Even with the unpredictability of nature and the seemingly out-of-control behavior of a fire burning through acres and acres of forest, there are characteristics you can count on. For one thing, wildfires start small and then get hotter, bigger and higher

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