News Release: Commissioner Adam Putnam's Office
Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today reminded Floridians to report any suspicious activity around wildland fires to help prevent arson. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service is bringing attention to the threat of arson this week during National Arson Awareness Week.
“Although heavy rainfall has reduced the wildfire danger in some parts of the state, the risk of wildfire is still a real threat in Florida,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Be alert for suspicious fire activity in the woods. With your help, we can stop arsonists and better protect Florida’s people, property and natural resources from devastation.”
Wildland arson costs Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Arsonists have already caused more than 20 percent of the state’s wildfires since January, resulting in more than 5,000 acres burned.
“Wildland arson places Floridians at risk, and we will not tolerate anyone who purposefully endangers our citizens,” said Jim Karels, Florida’s State Forester.
When reporting suspected woods 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 manages 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. For statewide wildfire updates and additional wildfire information, visit www.floridaforestservice.com.
For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.