Environment | Law

Hoopa Valley Tribe credits BIA presence with decline in arson fires






Fire crews inspected the site of the Sugar Bowl fire in August. Photo from Hoopa Valley Tribe

The Hoopa Valley Tribe of California ranks high in terms of arson but the problem could have been worse without the presence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The reservation saw 30 human-caused fires this season. That's half the usual number, Chairwoman Danielle Vigil-Masten said.

"Due to the high number of arsons, and that we are in a drought, we decided to take extra precautions," Vigil-Masten told The Eureka Times-Standard, explaining they the tribe reached out to the BIA this season.

The BIA kept anywhere from two to five investigators on the reservation throughout the season, the paper reported. The effort resulted in greater cooperation and could lead to charges against people responsible for the fires.

"This time has been very productive because they came to us and said, 'We need your help to try to stop the fires,'" Jim Nanamkin, the BIA 's regional fire prevention officer and lead investigator, told the paper. "We are there working for the tribe. They have trusted us with the responsibility to assist them in this."

Get the Story:
Hoopa tribe takes action to stop chain of arson fires (The Eureka Times-Standard 9/4)

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Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (08/26)