Drone catches an arsonist in the act

As if the changing climate isn’t concern enough, apparently at least some of the world’s wildfires are set intentionally. Police in Italy arrested a man after spotting him torch the Italian countryside. Watch as a drone catches a firebug.

Police didn’t have to look far for a suspect. Forest rangers were already in the area using a drone to search for the source of a previous fire. The suspect was apparently unaware he was on camera when he took out a cigarette lighter and set fire to the dry grass.

Italy has its own forest protection police, the Carabinieri per la Tutela Forestale. They arrested the man shortly after they retrieved the drone. But not before the damage was done.

Firefighters near Naples managed to extinguish the flames, although about 5 acres of pasture and woods burned.

Italy grapples with an unusually large number of forest fires this year because of parched grasslands and forests. Roberto Cingolani, Italy’s minister for ecological transition, told the Italian parliament about 57.4% of the country’s forest fires are due to arson.

Watch as a drone catches a firebug

The arsonist has not been identified, but police say he is a 50-year-old sheep and goat farmer. His motive is still not known.

Newsweek reports the president of a regional farmers’ association says wildfires have charred tens of thousands of acres and led to a mass slaughter of farm animals. Alberto Brivio speculates Mafia organizations may be setting fires in order to force farmers to sell their land for industrial development.

Screenshot of the Italian police wildfire video

As we’ve reported, Europe and the world is besieged by wildfires this year. The scientific journal Drones concludes the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is increasing in fire-detection — especially in drought-ridden areas of the United States.

“In 2018, 8.8 million acres were burned by more than 58,083 wildland fires in the US,” it says.

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