Arsonist sought after forest fire - - Jackson, MS

Arsonist sought after forest fire

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

MADISON COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Tuesday's windy and dry weather fed the hungry flames of the forest fire near Camden in Madison County, burning more than 500 acres in a few hours.

Those battling the flames say about 20 mobile homes were evacuated for a brief time Tuesday evening, but everyone is now back at home.

It's only a matter of time before investigators learn the identity of those responsible for what's believed to be arson.

"Based on the evidence we've recovered and reading the burn patterns of the fire, we have backtracked it to a hot set, which means someone deliberately set it with a cigarette lighter or something of that nature," says Mississippi Forestry Commission Investigator Matt Steed.

Some trees on the land look like they survived the fire, but most do not.

Fire lines were forged all along the perimeter of the blaze, and they breached the small cemetery at New Hope Baptist Church in Camden.

At Camden Elementary School, classes resumed as normal on Wednesday. But kids at recess on Tuesday afternoon noticed the emergency brewing nearby.

"We did see there was a major blaze in the forest area, three miles away from here," says Principal Dr. Falana Burks. "They were able to come up to the office when they started seeing the smoke at recess, and let us know something was going on."

The Forestry Commission continued to stage in the area Wednesday evening.

Anyone with information on the arsonist is asked to call 1-800-240-5161. A $2,500 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

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