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News Release

November 9, 2005


(Columbia, SC) - Eighteen South Carolina forest investigators were recently certified as wildfire investigators. Representing a number of state and federal agencies, the investigators spent a week in intensive training to determine cause and origin of forest fires.

The nationally-recognized course combined classroom instruction and field investigation exercises. Students learned to examine a wildfire scene, interpret burn patterns, reconstruct the progression of the fire, and locate the exact point of origin.

“This is CSI: Forest Fire,” said Forestry Commission Information Officer Ken Cabe. “Every wildfire leaves a trail of evidence, and investigators must know how to follow that trail.” During the week, students spent hours on their hands and knees, following the evidence trail through sooty, smoking, burned-out woodland.

The course, hosted by the Forestry Commission, was led by agents from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA.

According to Forestry Commission records, about 98 % of all forest fires are caused by people. Last year, almost one-quarter of South Carolina’s forest fires were attributed to woods arsonists.



For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, 803-896-8820.


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