When the woods are burning in Kentucky, far too often it's the work of an arsonist.
In fact, the Kentucky Division of Forestry says almost all wildfires in Kentucky are caused by people.
Like the fire that has kept crews busy in Rockcastle County.
It had been burning since Halloween night. It spread across 200 acres of land about four miles east of Mount Vernon.
After hours on the job, crews managed to get it under control yesterday evening.
Once the business of firefighting is done, the criminal investigation begins.
Arson is a serious crime and as with any criminal investigation, law enforcement wants its best tools available.
Once the flames are knocked down, the smoke starts to clear; and as the ashes are cooling, Oldo gets hot on the trail of an arson suspect. Oldo, a trained German shepherd, works with the state forestry's division of law enforcement -- feverishly sniffing out a culprit.
“Arson suspects are like any other criminal suspects,” explains Ray Burkhardt of the US Forest Service. “We track all kinds of crimes; arson is no different.”
Except that wild land fires do more than just scorch the scenic countryside.
“A lot of times, they are crimes of opportunity,” continues Burkhardt.
But it’s not just firefighters’ lives that are endangered. Homes can be threatened and hospitals report an increase in respiratory illnesses.
But even if Oldo can't track the suspect down, he may be able to do something that's just as integral to solving the crime.
“Locating the point of origin is important,” Burkhardt says. “We're trained in detecting the point of origin.”
A lot of times, the clues to an arsonist's identity are destroyed right along with the fire they started.
One way you can help solve arson fires is by reporting suspicious fire activity to the Target Arson Hotline: 1-800-27-ARSON.
The call is free and confidential.
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Thread: Woodland Arson Dog?
11-13-2005, 09:22 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Woodland Arson Dog?Always a day late and a dollar short!
12-13-2005, 01:34 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Arson Prevention is going to the Dogs!
Arson Prevention is Going to the Dogs
The Daniel Boone National Forest has stepped up its law enforcement staff to help prevent wildland arson fires. An increased number of officers, special arson investigators, and a team of tracking dogs are hard at work in Kentucky. The name of the special group is the Law Enforcement Arson Prevention Team, or LEAP Team.
Prevention of forest arson fires is the first priority of forestry officials. Kentucky has a high incidence of arson sets in its woodlands. Citizens are being asked to be careful with fire and report any suspicious fire activity to local forestry offices or to the Target Arson Hotline at 1 800 27-ARSON. You can remain anonymous on the Hotline.
One bloodhound and two German shepherds are used by trained investigators to help find arsonists. Investigators can track the origin of the arson set by following burned vegetation patterns back to where the fire came from. Dogs can pick up the scent of a person who has been in the area. By collecting information at the scene and talking to the local citizens, a case can be built against the arsonist. Any information from the public is helpful to investigators. Sometimes the smallest detail can lead to an arrest and conviction.
Captain Dennis Whitehead heads up the LEAP Team. Since October 16, 2005 the team has contacted over 3000 citizens, providing them with information about forest arson, and soliciting their support to help Kentucky reduce the arson problem.
If you would like more information about the prevention efforts of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, and the Kentucky Interagency Fire Prevention Team call them at the following numbers:
Daniel Boone National Forest - 859 745-3100
Kentucky Division of Forestry - 800 866-0555
Fire Prevention Team - 606 877-7848 (extension 412)
(temporary offices at Comfort Inn Suites, London, KY)Always a day late and a dollar short!
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