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August 13, 2023

Suspect Arrested for Starting Fire in Mt. Hermon Area

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry reports the arrest of 34 year-old Kenneth Beaubouef for initiating a fire in the Mt. Hermon area during a burn ban that subsequently spread into the nearby wooded area, causing severe damage to property and structures.

On Friday (August 11, 2023), LDAF enforcement agents in the southeast region began investigating a large wildfire in the area of Mount Hermon, Louisiana. During the course of the investigation, agents determined that the origin of the fire was near a campsite located off Firetower Road and Hwy. 1056. 

Forestry enforcement agents, along with Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives, executed a search warrant at the campsite in an attempt to determine who was present to ignite the fire(s).

Agents later came into contact with Kenneth Beaubouef, who advised he resided at the campsite. Beaubouef admitted to having started a fire on Thursday (August 10, 2023) and tending to the fire late into the night. Beaubouef further indicated he left the area unattended on Friday morning. It appears the fire subsequently spread into the nearby wooded area, causing severe damage to property and structures. Agents also note Beaubouef started the original fire during a statewide burn ban.

Kenneth Beaubouef was taken into custody and booked into the Washington Parish Jail early in Saturday morning for violations of Louisiana revised statutes 14:204 (Fire-raising on lands of another by criminal negligence) and 40:1602 (Burn Ban Violation). His booking information reflects a Independence, Louisiana address. No bond has been set at this time.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal assisted in the investigation.

LDAF’s Office of Forestry is tasked with responding to wildfires at any hour, and crews stand ready to take action. In the event of an emergency that requires their assistance, you can call the LDAF 24-Hour Emergency Hotline at 1-855-452-5323 or dial 911.

***All persons accused of any crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law***

Video below courtesy of Chief Jeremy Freeman, Washington Parish Fire District 9

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