North Carolina man stands accused of starting two wildfires

Smoke from wildfires buring in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia is seen on satellite images from NOAA on Nov. 8, 2106. (CBSN)
Smoke from wildfires buring in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia is seen on satellite images from NOAA on Nov. 8, 2106. (CBSN)

MACON COUNTY, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man is accused of setting two wildfires.

The U.S. Department of Justice says 49-year-old Keith Eugene Mann Franklin was arrested Wednesday on one count of destroying property by means of fire.

According to an affidavit, a wildfire was reported on Oct. 27 inside the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County. Court documents say an investigation showed the fire was intentionally set, as were five other fires nearby.

A second wildfire was reported on Nov. 22, and investigators say when they went back to the site the next day, they found a cardboard box with burned wooden matches next to it.

Those wildfires are among dozens that have burned in the South over the past several weeks as the region has been parched by drought.

Authorities say Mann admitted setting both fires. The charges against him carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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