Two incendiary devices located in recent grass fires - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Two incendiary devices located in recent grass fires

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - It may be dry season, which makes for the perfect conditions for grass fires, but the Guam Fire Department and federal officials have reason to believe that some of the latest blazes in the south have been intentionally set.

In the last few weeks, firefighters have responded to more than 30 grass fires reported around the island.  Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas says in the last week, many of the blazes have been along Cross-Island Road.  Local and federal firefighters have strong evidence to suggest that the many of the fires were intentional.  San Nicolas says two incendiary devices were found at the fires, telling KUAM News, "We have in our possession some evidence that are very similar that tells us that there's at least one person who has a specific M.O., or way of starting these fires, and we're going to chase it down."

He added, "They just make these devices, they light maybe throw it into an area where grass fires can start and it gives them enough time to leave the scene or other ways to do it."

Officials aren't speculating on who was responsible, but they're actively investigating. San Nicolas says there are a variety of reasons why someone would intentionally set the fires. "Hunters obviously get a bad rap from it because by burning the grounds with new sprouts come up attract game so they can hunt.  other cases may be maybe an angry neighbor wanting to cause issues with residents around the area or it could just be somebody who wants to see government waste some resources," he explained.

The fire chief says in the last week, the grass fires have burned at least 110 acres of land and resulted in countless man hours and resources being used to control the blazes that border Government of Guam and federal property. "You got our fire trucks out there. trucks that are designed for structural firefighting fighting grass fires. You put them in rough terrain you have wear and tear as well as our guys. we're ready to respond to these calls but just the fact of putting our lives on the line for something like this that could be set by somebody is really uncalled for," he said.

That's in addition to federal firefighters who often assist with fighting the blazes, HSC-25 personnel from the Navy that respond to requests for help and the Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division. San Nicolas says the penalties for those caught starting these grass fires are fines and possibly even criminal charges and jail time.  For now, officials are asking for the public's help in locating the individual(s) responsible by calling Guam Crimestoppers at 477-HELP (4357) or the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at 339-7220.

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