Suspected arson burns some 76 acres of timber in Allen Parish, one arrested
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s fire crews responded to a wildfire, believed to be set by an act of arson, in the LeBlanc area of Allen Parish on March 11.
Investigators said in a news release it was set close to where someone had been cutting down hardwood trees for firewood in the area north of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana.
LDAF enforcement agents stated 24-year0ld Bradley Ashworth of Kinder and 47-year-old Lance Templet of Iowa reportedly went onto the property without permission and cut timber to sell at a later date.
Investigators said they suspect Templet set a fire, which led to a fire that burned about 76 acres of timber.
An arrest warrant was issued for Ashworth for theft of timber and criminal trespass. Ashworth was arrested on March 25 and booked into the Allen Parish Jail on LDAF warrants and other outstanding Allen Parish warrants. His bond was $20,300.
Not more than $1,000 in firewood was cut from the property. However, the fire caused some $6,000 in damages to the timber.
“Timber is a valuable, long-term investment. It is imperative for landowners to pay close attention to activity on their property and immediately report a suspected crime,” stated LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “LDAF enforcement agents take agriculture and forestry-related crimes seriously, and they will seek justice when individuals break the law.”
A warrant was issued for Templet for arson and criminal trespass. Templet has yet to be located. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Templet is urged to call the LDAF 24-hr hotline at 1-855-452-5323.