Strike team to investigate arson string - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Strike team to investigate arson string

May 1, 2007

Ware County - Foresters have been working around the clock to keep the Ware County wildfire from jumping US 1.

So imagine the shock when US Forester Mark Morales heard that it did.  "It had just moved from the road just into the edge of the woods."

But upon arrival, the fire immediately raised some suspicions.  "This did not fit into the picture of something that should have come from this bigger fire," says Byron Haire of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Morales agrees.  "The fire activity and the winds of our big fire that day were pushing the fire away from this area."

He says they were lucky and able to contain it to 25 acres.  "We had a lot of equipment staged here close by, so we were able to get it out very quickly."

Before concluding it was started by an arsonist.

They say this is one of six South Georgia fires they believe was started by arsonists in the last two weeks, possibly including the 5,000-acre fire in Atkinson County.

Governor Sonny Perdue says this action will not be tolerated.  "Anybody who would think about starting a fire, arsonists, you better beware! You will get burned," Governor Perdue says.

An arson task force has been brought in to investigate both the smaller Ware County fire and the Atkinson County fire.

They are offering a ten thousand dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest of an arsonist.

The arson task force will be sworn in as Ware County deputies, so they'll have all privileges of law enforcement officers.