Law Enforcement and Arson
REPORT ARSON: 1-800-GA-TREES (428-7337)
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 478.752.1188
Arson is the third cause of wildfires in Georgia. To combat Georgia's arson problem and enforce Georgia's forestry burn permit laws, Georgia Forestry Commission employs law enforcement investigators. All of the investigators are certified law enforcement officers with the authority to enforce the fire and forest laws and regulations of Georgia. The investigators have extensive, specialized training in law enforcement and fire investigation. The Law Enforcement Division is headquartered at Georgia Forestry Commission's central office in Dry Branch, Georgia, located south of Macon.
On May 12, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law Senate Bill 400. The law clarifies the authority of GFC's investigators and authorizes them to make arrests and issue citations for violations. One of the most important features of the law is the creation of the Arson of Lands Code Section, O.C.G.A. 16-7-63.
Under the law, arson is a Felony in Georgia with the following penalties:
- Arson in the Third Degree
- Prison sentence of 1 - 5 years
- Arson in the Second Degree (> 5 acres burned)
- Maximum prison sentence of 10 years and fines
- Arson in the First Degree (human life endangered)
- Maximum prison sentence of 20 years and fines
Over the last five years, Georgia Forestry Commission Rangers have responded, on average, to more than 1000 arson fires per year.