VALLEY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A fire in the Allegan State Game Area is suspected to be arson, officials say.
It happened south of 116th Avenue and east of 46th Street at the Allegan State Game Area in Valley Township. The Allegan County Central Dispatch was alerted about the fire around 5 a.m. Sunday when a helicopter crew called to report a “significant fire,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in a release.
Officials believe it was started between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday.
The fire nearly burned to the ground two decks of cut timber. The DNR says the lost logs are estimated to be worth around $30,000 to $35,000, it said.
Officials suspect it was arson.
“Although the investigation is ongoing, initial evidence suggests arson,” Sgt. Charles Towns with the DNR Law Enforcement Division said in the release. “This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
The DNR says arson fires are rare and that only 4% of fires it has responded to over the past five years have been arson-related.
Michigan DNR is asking the public for help in getting information about the fire. The company that originally purchased the timber is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information should call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800.292.7800. Tips can be left anonymously.
The DNR noted that timber harvesting is part of the way it manages Michigan’s forests.