Robinson Island Fire Intentionally Set

Robinson Island Fire Intentionally Set

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ORANGE BEACH, Alabama -

Investigators say the weekend brush fire that scorched almost half of a popular island in Orange Beach was intentionally set.

An arson dog was used Sunday to determine the origin of the blaze.

The battle over the weekend was long and hard. The blaze began in the interior of the north east part of the island and fed by steady wind, kept fire fighters busy for hours.

The one thing that makes Robinson Island so popular with birds and tourists worked against it when it came to fighting the blaze.

"The primary reason this land was so valuable to this coastal heron rookery cause it's remote, access is limited, predators are limited," says coastal resource manager Phillip West.

For the first time, West got to walk the charred island and access the damage and determine how to move forward.

"We'll come up with a formula a recipe to replant some pines, some of the underbrush species that were here that I don't see how any of those are gonna make it."

The estimate is five to six acres was burned in the fire that skirted quickly through some areas and burned long and hot in others. Some things on the island were not able to get out of the way.

Fire usually helps rejuvenate an area and that could happen here but on an island wind, storm run off and waves can wash away in benefit. "Under this ash is just sand so we need something to help hold that."

Re-planting and restoring nesting sites will be a priority.

The city of Orange Beach along with the Island's of Perdido foundation is offering a thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting the fire.

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