HIRAM, Ga. -- Authorities believe four children and a lighter are behind a 120 acre wildfire that erupted in Paulding County on Tuesday morning.
The juveniles, ranging in age between 7 and 13 years old, had been playing with a lighter and dry leaves in a wooded area, police said.
Despite efforts to put the fire out, it quickly spread due to the extremely dry conditions.
Police are not releasing the names of the suspects due to their ages. However they are being enrolled along with their families in a Youth Firesetter and Intervention Program.
The court sanctioned program is sponsored by Georgia Public Safety Training Center and the Georgia Firefighter's Burn Foundation.
Paulding officials said children are responsible for an estimated 46 percent of all deliberately set fires. They also added that statistics attribute one in four fire deaths to children playing with fire.
Officials added that more than half of all arson arrests nationally are children and that 300 deaths and $1.2 billion per year can be attributed to kids playing with fire.
The Paulding fire is only one of many in the northern part of Georgia and in other states that are still spreading as crews work to combat them amid record record-breaking dry conditions.
This fire is also not alone in being manmade police have said. In Rabun County, Ga., police have been searching for a man they believe set multiple wildfires along a local road.
In Tennessee, officials made an arrest in a series of wildfires in the Chattanooga area believed to have been arson.
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