Louisiana’s largest wildfire blamed on arson

By: - September 2, 2023 4:39 pm
A large plume of smoke from the Tiger Island fire rises from forestland near Merryville in Beauregard Parish on Aug. 23, 2023.

A large plume of smoke from the Tiger Island fire rises from forestland near Merryville in Beauregard Parish on Aug. 23, 2023. (Jenn Finley/La. Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry)

Investigators believe the Tiger Island fire in Beauregard Parish, the largest in Louisiana this summer, is the result of arson, state officials said Saturday.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Enforcement Division and Beauregard Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for a suspect responsible for starting the Aug. 22 fire that emergency crews continue to fight. 

Named for a hunting club where it started, the Tiger Island fire has destroyed more than 31,000 acres of woodlands and 20 houses and structures. Residents near Merryville were required to evacuate their homes and went without power for days until it could be declared safe to restore electricity.    

The Tiger Island Fire continues to burn east of Merryville, south of U.S. Highway 190 and about 5 miles east of the Texas state line. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and  Gov. John Bel Edwards have warned

Anyone with information is asked to contact law enforcement. To report an arsonist or information about the Tiger Island fire, call the LDAF 24-hour hotline at 1-855-452-5323 or the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-462-8918.     

All calls to the LDAF hotline can remain anonymous, and the Louisiana Forestry Association is offering up to a $2,000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.


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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.