Adolescents setting more fires in Yakima; officials offer counseling program
YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima firefighters are taking steps to prevent preteens and young teens from starting fires, which firefighters say is a recent trend in Yakima.
The city and the Yakima Fire Department (YFD) said Thursday they have encountered an uptick in fires that are intentionally started by kids between the ages of 11 and 14.
This rise has occurred within the last two months in and around the schools in Yakima, according to fire officials.
YFD's Fire Prevention Captain Jeff Pfaff says he has teamed up with the Yakima School District to engage the kids through the Youth Firesetter Intervention Program.
The program is an educational and counseling program focused on helping those understand the effects of starting fires. The program also assists the kids through any difficulties that may have caused them to start the fires.
Pfaff says the program is designed to be non-judgmental, and says by understanding a kid's actions it helps the school district and the YFD to interact with support systems to prevent them from using fire to deal with difficult issues.