Brush fire suspected to be arson

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PARADISE TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A brush fire in the Poconos burned 800 acres of land over the weekend. And forestry officials suspect an arsonist is to blame.

Right now rangers are deep in the woods keeping an eye on any hotspots left over from a fire that started three days ago. A fire we now know is being investigated as a suspected arson. District Forester Tim Dugan says it took three days for rangers and firefighters to get the blaze completely under control.

“On average we had about 40 to 45 people per day,” Dugan said.

Saturday evening they responded to a 911 call for a wildfire in the Devil’s Hole area of the Delaware National Forest.

“Through the night we realized it was going to be a larger incident so more resources were called,” Dugan said.

Dugan says they finally reached 100 percent containment around 8 p.m. Tuesday evening. On Sunday, a wildfire investigator found signs that multiple fires were intentionally set.

“He suspects that this was an arson fire. We suspect that it was set intentionally to disturb the forest, burn a large area and unfortunately even put our people at risk,” Dugan said.

The forest is state game land, a very popular site for hiking. While the fire came close to surrounding neighborhoods, Dugan says luckily, no one was hurt and no buildings were burned.

Now forestry officials are asking for help. If you saw anything suspicious in the Devil’s Hole area Saturday night, they want you to contact the DCNR office in Swiftwater.

Dugan says the region has a history of arson wildfires. He says this is one of the largest since 2016 when an arsonist burned 8,000 acres in the same area.

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