Bastrop man accused of arson
A Bastrop man is accused of several arson fires in Morehouse Parish, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The Morehouse Parish Sheirff's Office on Aug. 3 arrested John Philbert Bowers, of Sulphur Springs Road in Bastrop, on four counts of arson, according to LDAF. Seven wildfires in Morehouse Parish near the Arkansas state line were set between July 20 and Aug. 3 and burned more than 27 acres of timber. LDAF said in a press release that at least three of the fires were suspected to have been set July 22. “Arson is a serious crime that can quickly get out of control," said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. "While property is damaged or lost, it can also threaten people’s lives, their homes and valuable timberland.” As of Aug. 13, Bowers remained in the Morehouse Parish Jail and is suspected of being involved in arsons in Ashley County, Arkansas. If convicted of arson where damages are $500 or more, the penalty includes a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 15 years in jail. The LDAF conducted a joint investigation with the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office, the City of Bastrop’s Fire Prevention Office, the Arkansas Agriculture Department Law Enforcement Division, and the Ashley County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office.