Two Boys Charged With Arson in Ga. Wildfires

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Authorities have charged two boys with starting grass and brush fires in drought-stricken south Georgia -- which has been battling wildfires that have burned more than 175-thousand acres since last month.

Authorities said today a 16-year-old boy is charged with setting a brush fire near Jesup. Another boy -- age 12 -- is charged with starting a small grass fire near Waycross -- where Georgia's largest recorded wildfire started April 16th.

Both are being charged as juveniles and have been released to their parents. The fires were quickly extinguished and burned less than an acre each.

Both fires were unrelated. The Georgia Forestry Commission's arson investigation task force made the arrests. Forestry spokesman Darryl Jones says authorities do NOT believe the fires are connected to six larger fires being investigated as suspicious.

Jones says both boys admitted setting the fires when investigators questioned them.

The largest wildfire has scorched 107-thousand, 360 acres of forest and Okefenokee Swamp land in Ware and Charlton counties. It started April 16th when a tree fell onto a power line near Waycross.

Another large fire started by a lightning strike in the swamp last weekend has burned 68-thousand,650 acres.

Authorities also are searching for a third person, described as a witness.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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