Thread: Wildfire arson
08-03-1999, 10:42 AM #1chief4102Firehouse.com Guest
I have a question. Does anyone have an idea on how to catch and convict an arsonist(s) who, over the past 4 years has set nearly 25 wildfires in a small (1 sq. mi.) area of forest land in our district? There have been 8 fires set in the area this year. We believe all are set by the same 1 or 2 individuals. Any ideas be appreciated.
08-03-1999, 11:49 AM #2cbp3Firehouse.com Guest
Chief: Circumstantial evidence is probably going to form the background of your case. Photograph EVERYTHING! Tire tracks, footprints, origins, all of it. Crawl around and try to determine the source of ignition. Patterns by your guy are important. Interview, interview, interview. Anyone and everyone. Who knows who saw what. Note cars and people in the area during the fire; arsonists often like to watch their handiwork.
Do you have access to law enforcement assistance? County or State arson task forces? Local PD? Use them...rely on your PD contacts to help. You'd be amazed how easy it is to lose a case over a technicality. Also, document everything! We all hate reports, but they are VITAL to any case. You just don't know what will be important later when you catch the guy.
If you need further assistance, contact me. We have many law enforcement assets we rely on, and maybe I can offer further help.
08-03-1999, 08:40 PM #3SWIDFCWINSFirehouse.com Guest
You are located somewhere in Michigan. Have you contacted your state's forest fire division or the state fire marshal's office?
They should be able to assist,mandated by law, I'd think. The previous reply is a good one and will also assist you in your quest for apprehension of the alleged arsonist. Catch this person (male or female) before someone gets hurt or worse, killed during an incident.
08-12-1999, 10:57 PM #4chief4102Firehouse.com Guest
cbp3; Thank you for your thoughts on this problem. We have done a great deal of interviewing. One problem is that the suspect is related to many of the people in the area of the fires, and no one will name names. We have not taken many photos, but will start to do so.
SWIDFCWINS; Thank you also for your reply. We have the Michigan DNR and the county sherrif dept. involved in the case along with the U.S.F.S. as many of these fires are occuring on Forest Service land. As you can see from the above info to cbp3, the problem is complicated somewhat with lack of information from the locals, many of whom seem to be at these scenes when we arrive. But, "nobody knows anything". Thank you both for your replys and information.
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