OREGON COUNTY -- A $1,500 reward is being offered for information leading up to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for setting illegal arson fires on Mark Twain National Forest land in Oregon, Shannon and Ripley counties last month. The reward offered is of up to $1,500.
Eleven Point District Ranger Tim Bonds said forest service employees have fought 19 fires in the Eleven Point Ranger District in the last two weeks.
Bonds said the most recent fires include a 100 acre fire that was fought Aug. 28 near Eminence, and two fires Aug. 27 near the Irish Wilderness in Oregon County.
"We are not having a typical summer for our area and this is not a typical fire season," Bonds said. He said high temperatures, extreme drought conditions and low humidity have heightened the fire potential not only in Oregon County but across southern Missouri. He said once drought conditions occur and winds are involved the fires can spread quickly and cause a considerable amount of damage.
Bonds said last month, between Aug. 11 and Aug. 13 a series of illegal fires were set in the Mark Twain National Forest in Oregon County along State Highway J near the Irish Wilderness. "Most recently we have fought fires along K Highway (which is near the Carter County line) in Oregon County," he said.
"We fought four fires at Camp 5 Pond that went into the Irish Wilderness," Bonds said.
The Forest Ranger said 95 percent of the fires his officers fight are arson fires or man-made fires.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement at 417-683-4428, ext. 136.
Bonds said all information received will be held in strict confidence and the reward payment will be made in accordance with U.S. Forest Service regulations and guidelines.