Franklin man charged with setting Macon County wildfires
Posted 8:40 p.m. Thursday
Macon County, N.C. — A Franklin man was arrested Wednesday after admitting to setting two wildfires in Macon County.
Authorities said that a wildfire was reported on Board Tree Road within the Nathahala National Forest on Oct. 27 and investigators determined it had been set intentionally.
The fire burned about 15 acres of land.
Five additional fires had also been set in close proximity to the one on Board Tree Road, but had extinguished themselves, authorities said.
During an investigation into the fires, law enforcement found several wooden stem matches.
On Nov. 22, a second wildfire was reported on Jones Creek Road by a person who identified himself as Keith Mann. The fire was contained to one acre of land.
During an investigation into the Jones Creek Road fire, authorities were informed that a suspicious mid-sized Chevrolet pickup truck had been seen in the area and located a cardboard box with numerous wooden stemmed matches at the origin of the fire.
Authorities contacted Mann, who admitted to setting the fires on Jones Creek Road and Board Tree Road.
Mann, 49, is charged with one count of destroying real property of the United States by means of fire. The charge carries a mandatory penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Mann is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Dec. 5.