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Arson suspected in Catahoula Parish wildfires

March 24, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said 15 to 20 wildfires burned nearly 100 acres of timberland in the rural area near the Manifest and Aimwell communities of Catahoula Parish early Tuesday morning.

Strain said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry firefighters on the ground and air had all of the fires contained by mid-morning. The fires were set around 3 a.m. Seven LDAF fire crews with bulldozers and other heavy equipment from Catahoula, LaSalle, Grant and Caldwell parishes responded to the wildfire call.

LDAF Fire District 3 manager Robert Lamb said the fires were deliberately set on locations along Amyx Road and Posey-Webb Camp Road.

“The fires were not a threat to any homes or structures,” Strain said. “Approximately 100 acres of timberland was destroyed.”

Depending on the age of the timber, the estimated damage from the wildfires may be as high as $160,000.

Strain said LDAF wildfire enforcement personnel would examine the burned area and begin an official investigation.

More than 900 wildfires have destroyed 12,807 acres of timberland in 2009 so far, Strain said. The average wildfire is contained to 10 acres.

“Wildfire arson is a very serious matter and will be investigated and prosecuted fully,” Strain said. “Please report suspected arson or wildfire activity as soon as possible.”

To report a forestry related crime, please call 225-925-4500.