Arson Determined as Cause of Louisiana’s Largest Wildfire

Arson Determined as Cause of Louisiana’s Largest Wildfire

Officials have confirmed that the Tiger Island Fire, the largest wildfire in the history of Louisiana, was intentionally set by an arsonist. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s (LDAF) Enforcement Division announced this finding on Saturday and has appealed to the public for assistance in identifying the person responsible. The Louisiana Forestry Association is offering a reward of up to $2,000 cash for any information leading to an arrest or conviction.

The Tiger Island Fire, which started on August 22 in a wooded pine plantation, has burned over 31,000 forested acres and caused significant damage to more than 20 homes and structures east of Merryville, located approximately five miles from the Texas state line. As of Monday, the fire is only 57% contained. Multiple wildfires have erupted in Beauregard Parish in recent weeks.

The rural town of Merryville, with a population of 1,200, was forced to evacuate on Thursday due to the fire. However, evacuation orders have since been lifted. The fire’s devastating impact has prompted concerns about the increasing frequency of wildfires in Louisiana. So far this year, wildfires have burned 60,000 acres across the state, with 600 wildfires reported in August alone. Officials anticipate the dry weather conditions in September will lead to further fire outbreaks.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards suggested that climate change may be contributing to the rise in wildfires, making it the “new normal.” Officials also noted that heavy residual fuels from Hurricane Laura, which struck Louisiana and Texas in 2020, are exacerbating the fire’s behavior. Additionally, residents not adhering to the statewide burn ban are increasing the risk of fires. The burn ban, including any open flame outdoors, was implemented in August. Local and state law enforcement agencies have been issuing citations and making arrests for violations, with over 20 citations issued on Monday.

The investigation into the Tiger Island Fire is ongoing, and authorities are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Author: CrimeDoor

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