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Man Sets Wildfire Because He Was 'Bored,' Another To Get Views On Facebook

Keith Mann

"I guess I was just bored," Keith Mann of Franklin, N.C. told the U.S. Forest Service when questioned why he set two fires in Macon County.

The Forest Service says it began investigating him after he called 911 to report the second fire. After an agent began questioning him, Mann admitted it was him all along who set the fires. He told the agent he used a box of kitchen matches.

Later in the interview, Mann advised the agent that he didn't know why he set the fires, other than the fact he "wanted to see something burn." He said he didn't have much to live for after his wife had left him.

Mann's confession follows a number of people admitting to intentionally setting wildfires across the southeast. In Kentucky, a 21 year old reportedly confessed to starting a fire so he could take selfies with it and broadcast "Weather Outlook" segments to his Facebook fans. In his last video, he reportedly got 2,900 views.

That case calls to mind a incident from 2014 in which a woman from Oregon reportedly ignited a wildfire because her "firefighter friends were bored and needed work." The woman became a suspect after posting an entry on Facebook that read, "like my fire?"

Sheriff's offices in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Kentucky have all booked people for allegedly setting wildfires intentionally over the last several months. Many of the motives in those cases will remain unknown until the suspects go to trial.

Meanwhile, 17 wildfires are still burning in North Carolina, many of them believed to have been set intentionally. Governor Pat McCrory is offering rewards of up to $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible.

Mann is due for court in Asheville on Monday.

Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal