Arson reward offered for wildfires in Buchanan County

BUCHANAN COUNTY, VA- Special Forest Wardens from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) suspect several wildfires that
occurred since Thanksgiving in Buchanan County were caused deliberately. These fires, which are being
treated as arsons, occurred in the area known as Guesses Fork. Multiple fire sets have been located
both near the state road and off of ATV trails in the woods.

The VDOF and other law enforcement officials are concerned with the number and frequency of these
dangerous, destructive and senseless criminal acts. Woods arson is a felony in Virginia and, when
convicted, the guilty person could serve up to five years in prison, pay a fine of $2,500 and be liable for
the cost of suppressing the fire.

“We believe these incidents are related,” said Rocky Wood, VDOF’s lead investigator. “And likely these
fires are related to multiple fires in past years in similar locations. We’re asking that anyone with
information who could assist us in our investigation to please come forward and help us bring the
responsible party to justice.”

The VDOF needs citizens to be vigilant in the fight against arson – a crime that could lead to property
destruction or even death. If you believe you have information relating to the cause of these fires or the
person or people responsible, call the Virginia Department of Forestry at 276-329- 5428 and report it.
Alternatively, you may call the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office at 276-935- 2314. You may also
anonymously call the VDOF Arson Tip Line at 434-220- 9053. Your help may be worth up to $2,000 – the
reward offered for information that leads to the conviction of an arsonist. For other emergencies or to
report a new fire, call 911.

If you see any fire where firefighters have not yet arrived on the scene, make note of the following:
• Location and time of the fire;
• Description of person or people observed in the area;
• Description of any vehicles or ATVs observed and the license plate if possible, and
• Any other pertinent information that might help investigators.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for
Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every
county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been
doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With 16 million acres of forestland and nearly 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products
and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21.5 Billion
annually.

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Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com