Suspected arsonist captured and tied to tree by locals

Updated at 12:06 p.m. PDT July 27, 2022

mapJ uly 25 arson fires in Southwest Oregon
General area of the July 25 arson fires in Southwest Oregon.

On Monday a Bureau of Land Management employee reported that a man was walking down a road igniting vegetation fires in a remote area about 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.

From the AP:

Ground crews, assisted by local residents, and three helicopters quickly got the two fires under control, Curry County Sheriff John Ward said.

Meanwhile, three local residents located the suspect walking on the road near the fires and detained him.

“It was reported that the suspect became very combative with the three residents and had to be tied to a tree to subdue him.,” Ward said in a statement. “An ambulance crew was asked to respond due to some injuries that the suspect apparently received from falling down.”

Smith was transported to Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass and once he was medically cleared, transported by US Forest Service law enforcement to the Curry County Jail and held on Reckless Burning and two counts of First-Degree Arson. There was also a Detention Warrant in effect out of Lane County for probation violation.

Trennon Ray Smith mug shot
Trennon Ray Smith. Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

10 thoughts on “Suspected arsonist captured and tied to tree by locals”

  1. That’s nasty country and fuels for a fire. I’ve floated the Rogue River about 20 times and know the area pretty well.
    If those guys hadn’t caught the arsonist quickly, a fire from that area could quickly run all the way to the rim of the canyon and spread east and west from there. That’s also “lodge country” where floaters overnight that do not want to camp out, so lives are at risk as well.

  2. An ambulance crew was asked to respond due to some injuries the suspect apparently received from falling down……….Sure…I..can…see how that might happen😊

  3. The Arson incident Northwest of Grants Pass is No Surprise.

    In the summer of 2021, there was an incident in Merlin, where a woman was walking along a road, singing, tossing lit matches into the very dry brush. “La Di Da”, throw a match, “Cis Boom Bah”, throw a match. She must have thrown about 10 lit matches because there were about 10 spot fires.
    Fortunately, it was not a windy day.

    The people that manage the Bureacracies of Josephine County and Grants Pass, have the Darkest of Dark Hearts.

    This first link is about a drowning at the YMCA in 2017. Read the comments.
    The fellow YMCA member (Don Lufkin) that first tried to help the drowning young man, said it took life-guards 7 minutes to get to his body.

    Paradoxically, the one gym in town that has a pool with no lifeguards, has a far better safety record, than the Grants Pass YMCA.
    The response of the YMCA management to Don Lufkin’s Heroism & Helpfulness ?
    They terminated his membership. They chose a path of Cover-up, which didn’t stop at getting rid of Don Lufkin.
    https://kobi5.com/news/teen-drowns-at-grants-pass-ymca-60838/

    Incident #2.
    Travis Albins and Julie Names helped me personally with landscaping and house-cleaning.
    There is a shortage of affordable housing & they were camping in Merlin.
    Travis’ truck was an exercise in Cracked Engine Blocks, Smoking Hugely, when they visited me in 2018 & 2019.

    Travis shot and killed Julie, in July 2020, an early part of our larger Covid19 experience.
    Perhaps related to the Lock-downs.
    My Landscaper murdered my House-cleaner … Literally.
    https://ktvl.com/news/local/grants-pass-man-charged-in-womans-death-had-previous-domestic-violence-charges

    After living in Grants Pass for 11 years, I have witnessed dozens of incidents that touch on the subject of Very Poorly Managed Organizations.

    Of course the Question is – what does this have to do with Wildfires ?

    The County Commissioners recently tried to have a meeting to discuss County Fire-Wise programs.
    No members of the General Public showed up, at a 5 PM meeting.
    I tried to go. I emailed the Commissioners, to ask if I could present photographs, for a discussion of Wild-fire prevention.
    Never heard back.

    I emailed Commissioner Baertschiger directly, to ask about presenting photographs at a Fire-Wise meeting, and if we could include Firewise discussions in a subsequent 9 AM Wednesday meetings.
    The short answer … No.

    One of the main things that protects Josephine County from larger fires, is that there are a lot of retired fire-fighters living in the community.
    That is a part of the Wildfire Balancing Act we witness in Josephine County. Perhaps the abundance of retired fire-fighters offsets the effects of the Terribly Managed Bureacracies.

    My own neighbor Shawn, living in an un-zoned residence which is also a part of the story, responded to a lightning strike at the top of the hill, by running uphill 1/4 mile in the middle of a summer night, through Poison Oak – which he is allergic to.

    He managed to contain the fire. That ignition occurred on the edge of 70 square miles of very dry forest with a very heavy fuel load.
    But you never heard about it, because Shawn my neighbor, dealt with it.

    1. Absolutely fascinating, Roger. I work for a group of international muckrakers who expose scandals like this. Would you be interested in meeting with me? I think we could break this story wide open. I’d also like to speak to your neighbor Shawn about his poison oak experience.

      All the incidents you listed appear to be connected to a much broader criminal conspiracy.

    2. Jo County is that bad because y’all don’t want to pay for services. There wasn’t a Sheriff for years because jo country wouldn’t increase their property taxes, y’all have to pay individually for fire services because no one will pay the property taxes for a proper fire department. Jo County is a cesspool. Curry isn’t much better.

  4. I would say that putting Trennon Ray Smith – or the Match-throwing woman* – in a Chair, and making them Answer Questions about their Behavior – is more important than the Watergate Hearings.

    * or an other recent wildfire arsonist.

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