Heading into the long Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial start of another hot and dry summer — the Texas Forest Service is begging us to be careful with cookouts, campfires and any outdoor burning.

TFS also wants people to be especially watchful for arsonists deliberately starting fires and report them to law enforcement.



The Texas Forest Service says people deliberately start wildfires for a variety of reasons. They do it to get back at someone for some reason, or for the insurance money. Some are pyromaniacs who just enjoy watching something burn.

Whatever their reason, people who start fires are contemptible criminals. A lot of people make their living from farming, ranching and timber sales, and a fire can wipe them out, and even kill them.

TFS chief law enforcement officer Les Rogers says the forest service has the technology to find the spot where a wildfire started and what was used to start it. Rogers says they will find the arsonist and put him or her in jail.

Arson is a felony punishable by a prison term up to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If an arson fire kills someone, it can be prosecuted as capital murder which is punishable by death or life in prison without parole.

Anyone with any information about an arson fire is urged to contact local law enforcement or call the TFS toll-free arson hotline at (800) 364-3470.

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