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Forestry Commission Joins Task Force to Prevent Arson

September 17, 2012
A forest fire burns, enveloping trees in a noxious smoke.

Did you know that arson is the cause of fires that burn more than 25,000 acres of woodland in Georgia every year? That's almost the size of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!

In response to this problem, the Georgia Forestry Commission is joining with 13 other states to launch the Southeast Arson Task Force, the first of its kind in the nation. A federal grant is funding the project, which will advance the training for fire investigators in member states, most of which are understaffed and underfunded.

Arson investigators will have their first meeting in Brunswick this month to plan strategy, network and receive specialized advanced training. The arson task force concept will allow states to utilize joint resources in major and serial arson cases and during extreme fire periods.

In 2008, the Georgia legislature strengthened penalties for woods arson. GFC investigators are authorized to make arrests and issue citations for violations. Conviction penalties include fines and a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

One of our most important resources, however, is you! We need Georgians to always keep a sharp eye out for suspicious activity, which can be reported anonymously to the Arson Tip Hotline at 1-800-GA-TREES or by e-mailing enforcement@gfc.state.ga.us.

About the Author

Georgia Forestry Commission's Brian Clavier

Brian Clavier is the Chief of Law Enforcement for the Georgia Forestry Commission. Clavier is a Certified Fire Investigator who manages all aspects of GFC law enforcement operations, including a team of seven officers which investigates forestry related crimes and large and incendiary caused wildfires.

Before joining GFC, Clavier served in the arson unit of the State Fire Marshal's Office for the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. In this position, Clavier served as fire safety supervisor, an arson investigative specialist and department firearms training officer.

Clavier achieved the rank of Lieutenant during his seven-year tenure at the Cordele Fire Department. Clavier holds numerous certifications and professional awards.

He lives with his wife and daughter in Houston County.