Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Who Loses When Woods Arson Occurs?
Everybody loses when wildland arsonists strike. Consumers pay more for the thousands of products made from forest materials; taxpayers foot the bill for suppressing the fires; jobs are often eliminated when the resource is reduced, and families living in wooded areas often lose their homes and possessions. In 1985, 200 homes were destroyed or damaged by wildfires, many of these fires were due to the work of arsonists. More than half a million acres were burned, and 330 homes were destroyed or damaged, in 1998 alone. 1 in 5 of these fires was attributed to arson.
What is the Forestry Arson Alert Association?
The Florida Forestry Arson Alert Association is a nonprofit organization formed in early 1986. Created to be a vehicle for supplying information to the public about woods arson, the association also acquires funds and distributes rewards for information about incidents of this senseless crime.
How Can I Join the Arson Alert Association?
You are eligible, as an individual, or your organization is eligible, for membership. Your donation qualifies you as a member and you will receive a membership card. Your donation not only helps make it possible to give rewards to citizens who provide information about arson, but also is a means for expressing your concern about this crime to local and state law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and lawmakers. Most importantly, you will send a direct message to every woods-burning arsonist. Contributions may be made in cash or by check through any Florida Forest Service office, or directly to the association. The mailing address is: Florida Forestry Arson Alert Association 3125 Conner Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650.
Upon receiving payment, the Arson Alert Association will forward your membership card and receipt of payment by return mail. Contributors giving $25.00 or more will also receive a membership decal, while those giving $100.00 or more will be given a framed certificate and donations of $500.00 or more will receive a plaque.
How Can I Receive a Reward?
Anyone with information about a fire believed set by an arsonist should contact a Florida Forest Service field office or call 1-800-342-5869. Ask to speak to the District Manager or Fire Investigator responsible for the area involved.
If the caller's information leads to the apprehension of an arsonist, the District Manager will recommend to the Arson Alert Association that a reward be paid. If the reward is approved by the Arson Alert Association Board of Directors, the funds will be forwarded to the District Manager for payment.
- The minimum reward is $100.00 and the maximum reward is $5,000.00.
- If requested, the identity of the caller will be kept confidential.
What Will Happen to the Arsonist?
The willful, malicious or intentional burning of forest, grass or woodlands not owned by or in the lawful possession of the person doing the burning is a felony crime, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.00, five years in prison, or both.