A forest fire occurred in April and burned for more than a day on state-owned land in Kaohsiung. Police determined that the culprit was a contractor surnamed Li who drove a pickup truck filled with discarded wooden formworks and burned them to vacant land. However, three hectares of state-owned woodland were destroyed by this fire.
Security camera footage shows a pickup truck driven by a man surnamed Li, who is suspected of starting a forest fire on state-owned land in Kaohsiung's Neimen District in April. The back is filled with discarded wooden formworks. They were supposed to be transported to a factory for processing legally. However, Li brought them to vacant land in Neimen District next to state-owned woodland and burned them.
Li left the scene before the fire burned out. Winds then scattered the embers towards the woodland, and a fire erupted. Three hectares of state-owned woodland were destroyed. The fire burned for more than a day, and helicopters had to be sent out to help extinguish the fire.
Chen Yuan-fa, Deputy Captain, 8th Division, 7th Special Police Corps:” He transported discarded formworks to the scene of the crime and burned them. He didn't wait until the flames stopped burning before leaving. The flames continued burning, and a forest fire occurred.”
The police say this was not the first time that Li had used this method to get rid of discarded objects. He will be investigated for violating the Forestry Act and public endangerment. The Forestry Bureau's Pingtung Forest District Office says bamboo is currently growing in the woodland that suffered the fire due to the rainy season. Reforestation of one hectare is also underway, and the current situation is satisfactory.
Voice of Lin Hung-chi, Director, Qishan Station, Pingtung Forest District Office:” About one hectare of the woodland that was destroyed has been reforested. Regarding the bamboo, the dead leaves ignite easily so right now we're working towards establishing fire belts to reduce the possibility of fires.”
The Forestry Bureau urges the public to be careful even when lighting fires in unregulated forests, and to make sure all the embers are extinguished before leaving. Arson is punishable by up to 10 years. Indirectly starting a fire is punishable by up to two years, which can be combined with a fine of NT$300,000. Those who start fires will also be required to compensate the value of the destroyed trees and incurred firefighting expenses.