The Forestry Commission prosecuted its first forest fire case in 1929. From then until the 1990’s, the agency’s law enforcement officers focused almost entirely on forest fire violations. These cases ranged from simple violations of safe burning laws to felony-level woods arsons.

In the early 1990’s, the agency began investigating timber transaction crime, primarily in response to public demand. Specially trained Forestry Commission agents now investigate hundreds of timber thefts and fraudulent timber deals every year.

All Forestry Commission officers are trained and certified by the SC Criminal Justice Academy. After graduation, officers receive additional training on forestry law, wildland fire behavior, forest fire investigation, and incident management.

Forestry Commission officers have statewide jurisdiction and full power of arrest. Officers are armed with .40 Glock semi-automatic pistols; every officer is required to qualify with the weapon twice each year.


Law enforcement is an important part of forest fire prevention. The Forestry Commission assumes the primary responsibility for statewide forest fire law enforcement.

Forestry Commission officers may issue citations (tickets) for misdemeanor offenses. For more serious crimes, officers obtain warrants and make physical arrests.

Forest Fire Law Enforcement

Forest Law Book

Firefighter Arson Study

Current News Releases

Archived News Releases

For Forest Fire Law Enforcement assistance, contact your local office of the South Carolina Forestry Commission.


Timber transaction crime includes outright theft of forest products, as well as fraud.Timber transaction crime is characterized as “white collar crime committed by criminals in work clothes.” Forestry Commission agents say losses to SC landowners could be as high as $10 million each year. Many cases are never reported.

The Forestry Commission is the primary law enforcement agency investigating timber transaction crime in SC. Agents handle several hundred timber transaction crime investigations per year. Investigations usually begin with a complaint from a landowner.

Timber Transaction Crime

Understanding Timber as a Commodity

Statutes Relating to Timber Transaction Crimes

Tips on Selling Your Timber

Your Timber is Valuable

Forest Law Book

To report timber transaction crime, contact Jonathan Calore at (803)896-8840 or email the state headquarters.