The Louisiana Forestry Association is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who set fire to hundreds of acres of pine timber in St. Tammany Parish.
“Right now, it is uncertain whether the fire was intentionally set or whether it was an act of negligence,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. “We’d like to speak with anyone who may have information regarding this incident.”
The fire that consumed almost 300 acres owned by Weyerhaeuser was reported about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 3. It happened on John Bennett Road off of Louisiana Highway 36 East in Abita Springs. Thirteen Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and Pearl River Volunteer Fire Department firefighters battled the blaze for seven hours to get it under control.
If convicted of arson, the person or persons responsible could face up to 15 years at hard labor and/or up to a $15,000 fine. A conviction of negligence is a misdemeanor and the person or persons responsible could face a fine of no more than $300 and/or up to 30 days behind bars.
Anyone with information can remain anonymous and is urged to contact the LDAF at (225) 925-4500 or the LDAF Wildfire Hotline 1-855-452-5323.