Don’t endanger the forest in southwestern Oregon, you could end up tied to a tree trunk.
According law enforcement in Curry County, OregonMonday, three locals apprehended a man suspected of starting wildfires in the area. When the man refused to stop, locals overpowered him and tied him to a tree.
“It was reported that the suspect became very combative with the three locals,” the county sheriff’s office said in a statement. “A team of paramedics was called in due to injuries the suspect allegedly sustained in the fall.”
The incident concluded a major law enforcement operation involving the Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, local firefighters and the sheriff’s office. On Monday morning, sheriffs received an alert of multiple active fires in the wooded area between the town of Mariel and the Rogue River Ranch.
Oregon has issued extreme wildfire danger warnings, with parts of the state reaching record temperatures this week. Currently, 11 wildfires are burning across the state.
The firefighting mission took a turn when a BLM employee told sheriffs the fires were started by “a grown white male” who was walking along a gravel road in the area.
Authorities dispatched three helicopters to fight the fires, with help from ground crews and local residents. As firefighters battled two small fires, the three residents pulled over and apprehended the suspect.
Officials said the man was identified as Trennon Smith, 30, of Veneta, Oregon. After being treated at a local hospital, Smith was taken to the Curry County Jail and charged with first-degree arson and reckless burning.
Ground crews were able to extinguish both fires, which burned less than an acre of total property.
“The quick actions to put out the fires most certainly averted disaster and saved lives,” Sherrifs said in a statement. “If the fires had not been brought under control and had gotten out of control, they could have prevented all residents and visitors from having an escape route.”