Brush Fires in Luzerne County Considered Arson

NEWPORT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry is trying to find whoever started several brush fires on Alden Mountain in Luzerne County last month.

A $1,500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators say these fires were dangerous and could have put lives at risk.

Photos from the Newport Township Fire Department show the damage a series of wildfires caused on Alden Mountain.

The fires were set on April 3, and now the Bureau of Forestry is investigating these fires as arson.

"I know that the fire was large," said Frank Czapla. "It had to be someone setting the fires. They just don't magically appear."

"When it was burning, and I was coming towards the Alden Mountain Road and I saw it lit up, I don't know. It was happening for a couple of days," said Brian Fisher

Investigators say these fires were set at a time when the area was under a red-flag warning. These warnings are put out to alert the public to an increase in wildfire danger.

"It could've taken up the whole forest on the mountain. Fortunately, it didn't because of the firefighting," Czapla said.

Czapla lives in Newport Township and used to be a firefighter. He says battling wildfires like these could have put lives in danger.

"Carrying around that equipment is unbelievable. It's a heavy load to be carrying out in the woods, very dangerous."

The Bureau of Forestry is offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for these fires. Anyone with information can contact the state Bureau of Forestry.

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