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Man suspected of starting wildfires tied to tree by angry locals

Emergency workers standing near wildfire in woodland
(Image credit: Getty)

A man suspected of starting wildfires was apprehended, subdued, and tied to a tree by angry Oregon residents this week.

As Outside Online (opens in new tab) reports, sheriffs received calls about several active fires in the forested area between Mariel and the Rogue River Ranch on Monday, and embarked on a firefighting mission together with local firefighters and the Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management.

There are fire restrictions (opens in new tab) in place throughout Oregon, parts of which have hit record temperatures, and 17 active wildfires (opens in new tab) currently reported in the state.

Residents also pitched in to help, but when a Bureau of Land Management employee reported that the fires had been started by a man seen walking along a nearby gravel road, three of the locals turned their attention to tracking him down.

Arson and reckless burning

"Three local residents of that area located the suspect walking on the roadway near the fires and detained him until law enforcement arrived on scene," said the sheriff's office in a statement (opens in new tab). "It was reported that the suspect became very combative with the three residents and had to be tied to a tree to subdue him."

The man was treated for minor injuries sustained from falling down (not from the tree tying), then taken to Curry County Jail where he was charged with first-degree arson and reckless burning.

"The total area burnt is less than one acre," said the sheriff's office, praising the quick response of emergency responders. "If the fires had not been contained and if they got out of control, they could have blocked all the residents and visitors from having an escape route."

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).