Delaware Water Gap Fire: Feds Mistakenly Identify Arsonists Online
The National Park Service jumped the gun in posting pictures of young men who they mistakenly suspected of starting a major wildfire on Sunday.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area had posted the pictures on their Facebook page, describing the individuals next to a fire as the potential arsonists.
The post has since been taken down and the agency released a statement saying that investigators determined that the people in the photos were not responsible for the wildfire.
The Rock Face Fire on Mt. Tammany in Worthington State Forest and the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap started Sunday afternoon. It burned through 80 acres, according to State Fire Warden Greg McLaughlin. Rain on Tuesday helped to put out the rest of the fire.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is investigating the wildfire as part of task force that includes New Jersey State Park Police, the National Park Service and the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.
Chris Franek, assistant division forest fire warden, said the fire started south of the trailhead at the 1,400-foot level along the Red Dot Trail, and then burned its way down the slope before moving back up the hill.
Tips about the fire can be left online at nps.gov/ISB and clicking on “Submit a Tip" or by calling 888-653-0009.
A spokeswoman for the Park Service did not immediately return a message on Friday afternoon.