Arkansas Forestry Commissioner Kevin D. Williams has issued a request for information from the U.S. Forest Service, the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture to help identify the cause of the largest fire in the state’s history.
The request for assistance was made Tuesday at a meeting of the state forestry commission, which oversees nearly 4,000 acres of forested land in southeast Arkansas.
Williams said he has received more than 2,200 requests for information about the fire and has received an average of 200 per day.
Williams acknowledged that his office does not have the resources to conduct an investigation in a timely manner.
“We need a lot of help to find out what happened,” Williams said.
“So I am asking for help.”
Williams said the Forest Services has not responded to the request and the department’s investigation is ongoing.
Williams added that the commission has not received any information from any of the agencies that conducted the investigation.
The state’s Forestry Commission is one of five agencies that oversee the forests in southeast, southeast Arkansas, as well as in southeast Missouri and eastern Missouri.
The commission is made up of four commissioners who are appointed by the governor.
Arkansas Forestry Commissioners Kevin D Williams, left, and Mike Hargrove.
AP/David BeckerThe governor appointed a third of the commission members and the fourth by a vote of 6-4.
Williams and Hargraves are among the five commissioners who have been the subject of criticism over their role in the fire, which broke out late last month.
They have repeatedly expressed frustration with the response from federal agencies to the fire.
Williams is a former deputy chief of the Arkansas Forest Service.
He served as a senior adviser to the Forest Resources Council, which represents the forestry industry, and as a consultant to the U,S.
Army Corps of Engineers.
Hargreaves was the governor’s former deputy secretary of state.
In February, he was elected chairman of the forestry commission.
Both Hargreyas have publicly criticized federal agencies and have argued that the federal government is not doing enough to investigate the fire in their area.