The Michigan DNR is seeking tips after a likely arsonist destroys $35,000 worth of timber in the Allegan State Game Area.

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Shortly after 5:00 a.m. Sunday, September 26, 2021, Allegan County Central Dispatch received a call from a helicopter crew about a significant fire. The helicopter crew reported that a large fire could be seen while flying over the Allegan State Game area south of 116th Avenue, east of 46th Street, in Valley Township, southwest Michigan.

The crew said a stack of large logs was ablaze. The stack turned out to be two decks of cut timber, each approximately 30 feet tall by 150 feet long, and all of it was nearly burned to the ground, according to a release.

Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are now seeking the public’s assistance with any information related to the suspected arson fire. Such fires are rare; over the last five years, just 4% of fires the DNR has responded to have been determined to be arson-related.

Although the investigation is ongoing, initial evidence suggests arson,” said Sgt. Charles Towns, with the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.

The fire is believed to have been started between 10:00 p.m. Saturday, September 25th and 2 a.m. Sunday, September 26th.

Billsby Lumber Company, which originally purchased the timber, is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case. The estimated value of the lost timber is between $30,000 and $35,000.

Anyone with information regarding the arson can call or text anonymously via the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800. Calls and text service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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