The Ashley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a series of forest fires in Ashley County as arson, including one that burned in the area of the Crossett Municipal Airport-Z.M. Jack Stell Field last week.
While one suspect has been identified and is currently in prison, a second unidentified suspect is sought.
Ashley County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mark Griever said the fires are currently being investigated by the Ashley County Sheriff’s Department, Arkansas Agriculture Department Enforcement Division, and the Crossett Fire Department Fire Marshal.
The initial investigation originated in 2017 with an arrest of a John Bowers of Morehouse Parish, Griever said. Bowers was convicted of several arsons in Morehouse Parish.
“Several fires were linked to Mr. Bowers, who is currently incarcerated in the Louisiana Department of Corrections, awaiting extradition to Arkansas,” Griever said.
Grevier also said investigators have determined that not all of the fires in the period under consideration could be linked to Bowers and that investigators believe another individual is responsible for several of the arson fires in Ashley County.
“It was determined in the Bowers investigation that an unknown actor was also setting fires during the same time frame Mr. Bowers was charged with,” Griever said.
“Subsequently, investigators believed another individual not linked to Mr. Bowers was responsible for several of the arson set fires in Ashley County.
The investigators believe that the unknown individual is responsible for the fires that were mysteriously set in August 2019 in the southern and western area of Ashley County and the ones set last week near the Crossett airport.
Anyone with any information about the fires is asked to contact any of the investigating agencies with information, or the Ashley County Sheriff’s Department at 870-853-2040.