Reward Offered in Hunt for Florida Brush Fire Arsonists

Authorities believe arsonists responsible for more than 15 fires in the past two months.


CANAVERAL GROVES, Fla. -- Fire investigators are now offering $5,000 for the arrests of at least two arsonists believed to have set 15 blazes over the last two months.

The arsons - set in wooded, sparsely populated areas - are also worrisome to investigators since recent rains are expected to give in to a sunny, dry weekend.

"It's raining right now but the potential of an arsonist somewhere out there concerns us," said Orlando Dominguez, spokesman for Brevard County Fire Rescue. He added that wet conditions are not enough to stop deliberately set fires.

Even after several showers, the cool, dry conditions helped fuel two deliberately set fires on Monday, including one near the Bee Line Expressway that charred 25 acres of marshland.

"These are not vicious fires. They're nuisances. These guys are not trying to burn anybody out of a house . . . yet," said Ron Weis, the area supervisor for the Division of Forestry.

The arsonist targeting wild lands in the Cocoa and Grissom Parkway area sets fires during a three-hour window just after midnight. The other has set eight fires in Canaveral Groves, mostly between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. at night, Weis said.

Last month, firefighters also fought what they believe were six deliberately set fires in the area of Cocoa - including one that blackened 281 acres near State Road 407 and the Bee Line.