In a recent CIGRE survey of 65 U.S. utilities, it was noted that the most common cause of pole fires was aging infrastructure in general and specifically deteriorated equipment. While pole fires do not always contribute to wildfires, they are a source of power outages, collateral damage, public safety, and additional maintenance expense. This presentation will review the avoidable causes of pole fires and detail the steps of equipment deterioration that leads to pole ignition. We will examine the processes that lead to high leakage currents and insulator flashover and how these processes can be detected and mitigated. We will examine laboratory experiments completed at The Ohio State University High Voltage Laboratory that demonstrate the impact of insulator contamination, dry band arcing and the phenomena known as scintillation. National statistics on equipment deterioration field findings will also be reviewed. Finally, the impact of a pole fire mitigation program will be evaluated with case studies to provide examples of mitigation programs.