The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Thursday announced it has increased the reward for information leading to an arrest of those responsible for starting the Poconos Wildfires to $20,000.
The wildfire in Monroe and Pike counties burned 8,700 acres in late April and May and was the largest in DCNR’s history.
The cost of containing the fire has been set at $2 million for the wildfires in which more than 100 bureau personnel rotated in and out of fire scenes. They were assisted by federal, state and local emergency and other personnel, as well as a Smokey Bear Hotshot firefighting team from New Mexico.
“In June, a private landowner affected by the 16 Mile Fire increased his reward to $10,000, adding $5,000 to his already offered reward,” said Michael Kern, chief of the bureau’s Division of Forest Fire Protection. “With DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry now matching that amount, we’re hoping a reward totaling $20,000 will encourage someone to come forward with the lead or leads we need in our ongoing investigation.”
“We know both fires resulted from arson,” Kern said. “These fires put lives and property at major risk while spanning almost two weeks and burning across about 8,700 acres.”
During the first six months of 2016, wildfires burned 11,291 acres causing over $3.4 million in damage in Pennsylvania, the worse year on record since 1990.Individuals with information are asked to contact DCNR Special Investigator Terry Smith by calling 717-362-1472; or 570-895-4000 or sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips will also be accepted but do not qualify for the reward.
For more information on wildfires and prevention, visit DCNR’s Wildfire in PA webpage.
Related Story:PA Forest Heritage Assn Reports Over $3.4 Million In Wildfire Damage So Far In 2016