Woods arson is the common term for deliberately burning forests, grasslands or brush without the owner’s permission. 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.
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 office at 540-387-5461 and report it. Alternatively, you may call the Scott County Sheriff’s Office at 276-386-7679. 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 persons observed in the area
• Description of any vehicles or ATVs observed and the license plate if possible
• Any other pertinent information
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 more than 103,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $17 Billion annually.