Forest fires are a problem everywhere, including in Missouri. Wildfires damage 30,000 to 90,000 acres of Missouri forests every year. Many of these fires are not the result of natural causes. In fact, careless trash burners accidentally start 37 percent of the fires, and arsonists deliberately set 4 percent of the wildfires in Missouri.
Help stop these preventable fires by using caution if you burn debris, making your camp firewise, and reporting arsonists to the authorities. Your actions can reduce the 3,000 wildfires that your local volunteer fire departments, U.S. Forest Service, and Conservation Department personnel battle each year.
Prescribed fire is only for specific sites and conditions, and should not be confused with wildfires set by arsonists. Prescribed fire is deliberately set with the help of professional land managers. Prescribed fire can be a useful forest management tool when used properly.
Operation Forest Arson
Operation Forest Arson is a statewide initiative to stop arsonists, and citizen cooperation is essential to its mission. This program allows citizens to anonymously call, report an arson violation, and collect a reward. Operation Forest Arson is a cooperative effort with the Department of Conservation, U.S. Forest Service, and Conservation Federation of Missouri.
If you see or learn of an act of arson, call 1-800-392-1111 or contact your local conservation agent. Please report even if the arsonist has finished or if you find evidence of recent arson activity. Provide all the information you can about the suspect, the vehicles, license or registration numbers, and the area of the fire.
Rewards range from $100 to $1,000 for the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. A minimum reward of $100 will be paid for information helpful in apprehending or identifying a violator. A maximum of $1,000 can be paid for information about major violations and known repeat offenders.
After reporting an arson violation, you will receive a code number and a non-traceable bank draft after an arrest and conviction. The Conservation Federation Forestry Committee, who administers the reward, will not even know who the informant is. These steps ensure the reporter’s anonymity and prevent an arsonist from retaliating.
The reward money comes from donations made by private citizens, interested groups, and corporations. The Conservation Federation Forestry Committee administers the reward money. Contributions can be made to:
Operation Forest Arson Reward Fund
c/o Conservation Federation of Missouri
728 W. Main
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Sponsored by the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Mark Twain National Forest.