Arson has been determined as the cause of the ongoing largest wildfire in Louisiana’s history, which continues to burn in the southwestern region of the state.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 3, 2023
In southwestern Louisiana, a fire known as the Tiger Island Fire ignited on August 22, approximately five miles from the Texas border. This fire has now scorched nearly 50 square miles, causing the destruction of at least 20 structures, including homes, and necessitating the temporary evacuation of all 1,200 Merryville residents.
Fortunately, the evacuation order has now been rescinded.
According to the most recent updates, the fire is presently under control, with containment at approximately 50%.
Almost two weeks after the fire’s initial outbreak, on the previous Saturday, investigators from the Enforcement Division of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) concluded that the wildfire had been intentionally set, attributing it to arson.
The LDAF released a statement, saying, “Multiple wildfires have burned in Beauregard Parish in the past few weeks – most notably The Tiger Island Fire. Wildfire investigators with the LDAF Enforcement Division have determined this fire to be a result of arson. LDAF investigators, Louisiana State Fire Marshal deputies, and the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives are actively investigating this matter.”
Authorities revealed that the fire had ignited in a remote section of forested land but refrained from disclosing extensive information about the suspected arson, citing an ongoing inquiry.
At this point, no individual of interest has been publicly disclosed. The LDAF has declared a $2,000 cash reward “for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.”
The Tiger Island Fire is merely one of a staggering 440 wildfires that have erupted in Louisiana during the month of August alone. CBS Mornings reported that, tragically, one fatality has occurred as a consequence of these wildfires. However, it’s important to note that this death is not directly linked to the Tiger Island Fire.
Elevated temperatures, abnormally dry weather patterns and wind speeds reaching up to 15 mph have all played significant roles in the notably devastating wildfire season experienced in Louisiana this year. LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain remarked, “This is unprecedented. We’ve never had to fight this many fires simultaneously and at this duration.”