especially if they're right wing outlets with a history of climate change denial".
Of course. I speak not to 'right wing outlets' though, and only refer to the cases of documented arson in South Africa, which is common and the subject of quite a few academic studies.
Every year there's a couple of cases. In 2016/7, Cape Town saw a number of arsonists convicted.
There are also cases of people throwing cigarettes out of cars (heavy fines) and homeless people cooking over fires (socio-economic factor).
Today, a 35-year-old man appears in Cape Town court on a charge of arson. He was arrested on Sunday in the act of lighting fires on Table Mountain. He confessed. Two accomplices managed to flee arrest.
South African criminologist Annie Hesselink, Dept. of Criminology and security science, UNISA:
"Arson is very common in South Africa and the majority of arson is anger-driven".
Luckily South Africa, as a whole, is not the scene of mega fires.
Poor forest management is under the microscope again. Tall treed forests (imported pines planted during colonial eras) are now more likely to be felled, and replaced with low scrub, fire-and- drought-wise vegetation.
This photo shows part of the forest above the University campus, that burned yesterday.
Interestingly, the local park rangers proposed felling all the fire-hazard pines a few years ago, but the British author Sir Thomas Packenham (who loved walking here) mounted a strong public campaign against felling pines and restoring indigenous, fire-adapted vegetation. He insulted the Cape Town Parks Board ecologists as the "Tree Taliban"... and the project was put on hold.
It may steam ahead now