TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today reminded citizens to help prevent wildland arson by reporting all suspicious wildfire activity in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service is bringing attention to the threat of wildland arson this week during National Arson Awareness Week.
“In a state that experiences wildfires year-round, citizens who report suspicious wildfire activity are an invaluable resource as we work together to stop wildland arsonists,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Wildland arson costs Florida's taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Arsonists have already caused approximately 20 percent of all Florida wildfires since January, resulting in more than 1,300 wildfires.
“Wildland arsonists place lives, property and natural resources at risk, and we will not tolerate anyone who purposefully endangers Floridians by engaging in these activities,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester.
When reporting suspected wildland arson activity, callers should remember the following:
Call 911 immediately.
Do not approach the suspect.
Identify vehicle descriptions and license plates.
Identify physical descriptions of suspects.
Identify the location where the suspicious behavior was observed.
If you have any information about arson wildfires, contact the state's Arson Alert Hotline at 1-800-342-5869. Callers can remain anonymous, and information about arson could result in a reward up to $5,000.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages 37 state forests on more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.