OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) --Many devastating fires are caused by young people who have a psychological fascination with fire.
A childish fascination with fire can lead to disaster especially in the foothill communities. That's why a program is being set up to try and stop young fire starters before they become full-fledged arsonists. "We were searching for a way to help them more than punish them," said David Linn, Madera County District Attorney.
Linn is working with Cornerstone Counseling in Oakhurst to help these young first-time fire offenders. "The most common type of fire starter is somewhat intrigued by fire, and they are playing with it and are just reckless and don't understand the dangers of fire," said Jolinda Thomas, counselor.
Being able to force these young fire starters into a treatment is something Calfire supports. "Now we have more than just, hey, let's go to a program. Now, they're actually going to be sentenced into a program where there's gonna be a requirement for them to attend and be part of it and, hopefully, that's gonna them bring to some sort of resolve and help some of these kids out that are really struggling with some way of express themselves," said Nancy Coerperich, Calfire Unit Chief.
In addition to treating offenders Cornerstone will counsel children who might have an abnormal interest in fire.