Jason Barnes

Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon to give an update on the investigation into the burning of the Cedar Covered Bridge near Winterset.

The bridge burned early Saturday morning. Barnes expressed optimism in an interview Monday after with Radio Iowa on the progress of the investigation.

“We are moving forward with the investigation, we have received great help form the community. A lot of information has come in,” Barnes says. Barnes says people have been very cooperative in helping find answers to this latest fire.

“We have no direct witnesses to speak of, we are getting information from people in the community. Everything is going forward,” he says, We are real happy with everything.”

Barnes says a search of the scene did provide some clues. “We were able to recover evidence that is going to help us, yes,” Barnes says.

The Cedar Bridge is one of 6 covered bridges in Madison County which gained international fame after they were the centerpiece in Robert Waller’s book “The Bridges of Madison County.” The best-selling book was also made into a movie.

It is the second time the Cedar Bridge has been torched, it burned down in 2002 and was rebuilt. Other bridges have also been the targets of vandals.

Barnes says protecting the iconic bridges all the time is not easy. “It comes down to money, it really does. we could turn every bridge into Fort Knox if you wanted to,” Barnes says. “…you could keep people out there, have infrared, put up fences around them, close them at night. But at the other end of the spectrum, these are parks. At the end of the day, these are just parks.”

Barnes plans to hold a news conference at three o’clock today to update the information on the investigation.