May 3, 2013

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Arson Awareness Campaign in Cherokee County

In response to a large number of wildfires along the Alabama/Georgia state line, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) will be conducting an Arson Awareness and Fire Prevention Campaign in the eastern portion of Cherokee County May 9-11. This campaign will involve AFC law enforcement and fire suppression personnel going door to door, handing out educational material on how to protect your home, and soliciting the public’s help in identifying those responsible for setting recent woods fires.

AFC Law Enforcement Chief Craig Hill said, “Arson-caused wildland fires have historically been a problem along the state line in Cherokee and Cleburne counties. The person(s) responsible for setting these fires should understand the great financial losses they cause to property, as well as the danger they pose to residents and fire suppression personnel.”

For the last four years, the statistics of arson-caused woods fires are as follows:

Cherokee County         Acres Burned                          Cleburne County         Acres Burned

2013     11 fires                     931                                     2013       7 fires                  1,040

2012     30 fires                     680                                     2012     38 fires                     850

2011     32 fires                  1,635                                     2011     31 fires                   1,951

2010     37 fires                  1,866                                     2010     26 fires                     708


The fires reported for 2013 are from October of 2012 to the present, and the AFC hopes to greatly reduce the number of fires in both counties. A similar campaign will be conducted May 16-18 in Cleburne County. The Georgia Forestry Commission will be conducting a similar campaign across the state line in Polk and Harrison counties which are adjacent to Cherokee and Cleburne counties.

Citizens witnessing any woods arson or suspicious activity are encouraged to call the AFC’s Wildland Arson Hotline at 1 (800) 222-2927, or their local Sheriff’s Office. Any information provided is confidential and the caller remains anonymous. The AFC wants those responsible for these fires to know that wildland arson is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.


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