Arson is the leading cause of forest fires in Kentucky. Ninety-nine percent of all wildland fires in Kentucky are caused by humans. Some fires are accidental like unmonitored debris burning, campfires and sparks from farm equipment, but sadly, many are intentionally set. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all wildfires in Kentucky are caused by arsonists. These fires damage more than just forestland. They threaten homes, businesses and lives. Please protect your property, your community, your life and the many firefighters that put their lives on the line battling these needless fires.
Forest Arson is a Felony:
Intentionally setting fire to land owned by someone else is a felony under state law (KRS 149.380) and is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
To Report Forest Arson:
Forest arson should be reported by calling the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON or by completing the on-line Target Arson Reporting Tip Form. Notifiers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to the arrest and indictment of an arsonist. Suspected forest arson may also be reported to local law enforcement officials, the Kentucky State Police or the Kentucky Division of Forestry regional office that serves the area where the fire occurred.
Helpful information includes location of fire, descriptions of vehicles and license plate numbers, physical descriptions of individuals and any other information pertaining to illegal burning.
Governor's Task Force on Wildland Arson
The protection of the Commonwealth's forests from destructive wildfire is essential for the citizens to enjoy the multiple benefits provided by these forests. Since 1977, the Division of Forestry has averaged 2,031 fires that burned 81,025 acres annually. Almost 90 percent of these fires are caused by humans, with over 55 percent caused by arson.
In December 2005, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced the formation of the Wildland Arson Task Force, which was directed to find short-term and long-term solutions to the wildland arson problem in Kentucky. Members of the task force included staff from the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service and Kentucky Farm Bureau, as well as the Owsley County sheriff, Bell County attorney, Floyd County judge executive, representatives from Weyerhaeuser Co., Rowan County Route 377 fire department, Rep. W. Keith Hall and private landowners and consultants. Susan C. Bush, commissioner of the Department for Natural Resources, served as the task force chairperson. The task force met throughout the summer and completed its work with the creation of this final report.
The task force recommends a two-fold approach to addressing the wildland arson problem. The first area of recommendation focuses on law enforcement and aggressive prosecution, while the second area of focus is public awareness and education. To review the final report, click on the Governor's Task Force on Wildland Arson Report.
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