News Stories

Terrorist Forest Fires

The annual summer wildfires are harmful both to our weather and to our health. Judd Slivka writes in The Arizona Republic that U.S. forests have been considered as possible targets by al-Qaeda terrorists. An al-Qaeda prisoner told the FBI he'd developed a plan to set midsummer forest fires in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. An FBI memo says, "The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies."

The al-Qaeda member told investigators that he planned for three or four terrorists to travel to the U.S. and set timed explosive devices in forests and grasslands, that would detonate after they'd left the country.

Many forest law enforcement officers had never heard about the warning. The FBI says, "The information provided may have been intended to influence as well as inform."

"I thought about it a lot after 9/11," says law officer Don Riddle, who works at MantiLaSal National Forest in Utah. "How hard would it be for someone to get in a small plane and fly over a forest dropping fusees (flares) or firing off a flare gun as they flew over?"

What's lurking in those woods? Subscribers: Listen to Loren Coleman tell all about it.

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