When a wildfire starts, people quickly look for answers on what or who caused it. But according to Oregon Department of Forestry, it can take years to reveal that information to the public.
And quite often, it doesn’t result in criminal charges- just mostly fines.
When a wildfire is started by lightning, it can be easily traced back to the source of the strike and ruled the cause. But when fires are human caused, which a majority of wildfires started in Oregon are, a much more complicated task begins.
“It’s a process and we want to make sure that as we go through the processes, and that the details and accuracy of the investigation is the priority,” said Dave Larsen. He is the southern Oregon area director for ODF and is also a fire investigator.
He says part of an investigation is figuring out intent.