Fires join in Rabun County as investigators try to catch person behind them

Arson suspected in Rabun Co. fire

RABUN COUNTY, Ga. -- Fires continued to burn across Rabun County in Georgia on Thursday night as the northern part of the state continues to experience dangerously dry conditions. And the latest fire could be intentional.

Intense flames spread all along Talullah River Road in the Chattahoochee National Forest.  The U.S. Forest Service now says someone is responsible and the Rabun Sheriff's Office is on the hunt.

Smoke clouded the air and flames lighted the night sky - all as the pops and snaps of burning fires remain some of the only sounds to be heard on the second day of flames in this nation park.

Clarice Nichols lives near the area - to her surprise.

"I didn't realize they were this close," she said.

Nichols lives on Tallulah River Road.

"The fires are spooky; I don't like to think they are this close to peoples' homes," she said.

What started as multiple fires is now a single very big one.

Officials believes someone set these and a few others on Highway 28. Luckily those are now under control.

On Thursday night, deputies are searching for a dark blue SUV and the man they believe is driving it.

"Honest? They're crazy," Nichols said. "Why would anyone want to hurt other people?"

11Alive was there as crews called it a night on Thursday. But they'll be back the next day.  

At this point, it looks like it might take a while for the current fire to go away.

Dead hemlock trees and steep terrain are really making this fire difficult to fight.

They're bringing in extra crews bright and early in the morning to move forward anyway - hoping to get the new blaze under control.

All the while, investigators, firefighters and rangers alike are hoping that the person who is apparently behind these wildfires is caught before they start another one.

(© 2017 WXIA)


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