newest member of the AFC Law Enforcement Section: Blaze is his name,
Arson is his game! In an effort to reduce the high number of arson
cases in the state, the Alabama Forestry Commission recently
purchased the bloodhound puppy to track down offenders.
During the past four years, an average of over 42% of all wildfires
in Alabama have been determined to be “incendiary” in nature, not
only destroying natural resources, wildlife, and property, but also
endangering human life. According to statistics, most arsonists set
fires within two miles of their homes. Working with his handler,
Forest Investigator Donnie Parker, the new “K-9 officer” will be
specifically trained for woods arson investigations.
"Blaze is a man tracker," according to Alabama Law Enforcement Chief
Craig Hill. "It's amazing what a bloodhound can do to follow a trail
somebody left. You can wear gloves to hide your fingerprints, you
can work at night so chances are people won't see you. But it's
almost impossible to not leave behind human scent. There have even
been documented cases of bloodhounds successfully tracking people
who have driven off in vehicles," Hill
Another important task for Blaze at the AFC will be his use as a
wildfire prevention message and educational tool. Making special
appearances in schools and camps, he will help teach children about
the dangers of wildfire, much like Smoky Bear.
The Alabama Forestry Commission provides an arson/forest crimes
hotline so that citizens can call and report:
- Suspicious activity in areas where wildfires have occurred
- Theft of timber
- Theft or vandalism of timber harvesting equipment
The toll-free number is
1-800-222-2927. Information provided is confidential and
you will remain anonymous.
Sponsors for the
bloodhound program include: The Tuscaloosa County Fire Protection
Association, District Three Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Association, the Poarch
Band of Creek Indians, and the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers' Association.
The Commission welcomes continued support and assistance in the ongoing
upkeep of Blaze and the bloodhound program.