Investigators: Tiger Island Fire started ‘intentionally’ in secluded area of forested property
Published 10:32 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023
By Emily Burleigh
The Tiger Island Fire was caused by arson, said state officials have confirmed.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry said Certified Wildland Fire Investigators, Louisiana State Fire Marshal deputies and the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office detective are investigating the the case as arson.
LDAF Press Secretary Jenn Finley told the American Press the origin of the fire was located by the LDAF fire investigators, in addition to “evidence that indicated the fire was started intentionally in a secluded location on forested property.”
“As part of the investigation, a lot of factors are considered and come into play with evidence when determining what can cause a wildfire versus what didn’t cause a wildfire. Their evidence indicated that it was intentionally set by someone that should not have set a fire, thus classifying it as arson.”
The Tiger Island Fire is a wildfire that has been burning for 14 days, affecting more than 31,000 acres east of Merryville, south of La., 190 and east of the Texas state line.
The fire began on Aug. 22 after the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for Southwest Louisiana due to extreme drought conditions, gradient winds, low humidity and dry vegetation.
The wildfire also followed Gov. John Bel Edwards’ declaration of a state of emergency due to the impacts of extreme heat on Aug. 14. During this time, the state issued a statewide burn ban, as well. The conditions of the fire were worsened by the Red Flag conditions and excess amounts of dry lumber on the forest floor.
More than 20 homes and structures have been lost due to the Tiger Island Fire, but no fatalities have been reported.
The LDAF said residents are encouraged to contact law enforcement with relevant information. The Louisiana Forestry Association is offering up to a $2,000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.
To report a tip, contact the LDAF 24-hour hotline at 1.855.452.5323, BPSO at 337.462.8918 or the State Fire Marshal Office at 1.844.954.1221.
All calls to the LDAF hotline are anonymous.