Help find suspect setting wildfires in McDowell Co.

A fire is pictured in McDowell County where sheriff's deputies have been searching for a suspected serial arsonist. (Credit: WNCN)

McDOWELL CO., SC (WSPA) – Deputies need your helping find a person they think is setting wildfires in McDowell County.

They say roadside fires have been set in the past two weeks in Woodlawn, North Cove, Pleasant Gardens and Marion.

Some of the fires have been extinguished within hours.

Others like the Clear Creek Road fire, have been fought for days by 100 people.

“We’ve seen a recent rash of this, and it needs to stop,” said Fire Investigator Craig Walker of McDowell County Emergency Management. “Fire conditions are very serious right now, and this person is putting people’s lives and property in danger.”

Members of Emergency Management, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Forest Service are investigating.

Deputies are still searching for a possible serial arsonist as of Tuesday.

Richelle Bailey with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office said authorities think the person has set six to eight fires in the past couple weeks, including one on Friday and three more Saturday night into Sunday.

Anyone with information about the fires or a possible suspect is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-652-2235, the 911 Communications Center at 828-652-4000 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 828-65-CRIME (652-7463).

You can also text tips to Crimestoppers. Text MCDOWELLTIPS and your information to 274637 (CRIMES). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.


The Clear Creek Road fire remains at 186 acres Monday morning. Burnout efforts continue by local and regional firefighters and the N.C. and U.S. Forest Services. The main goals are firefighter safety and structure protection.

Clear Creek, Old Clear Creek and Ladybug Drive remain closed to traffic due to fire equipment in the roadways. We want all emergency services personnel to be able to navigate through those areas as efficiently as possible.

Crews from other parts of the state, including Lake Lure and Charlotte, joined local emergency personnel this morning.
No evacuations have been necessary.

Winds and heavy smoke will continue to be factors today. Temperature is expected to reach the mid-50s with sustained winds 5-10 mph and gusts 15-20 mph. Humidity will hover in the mid- to lower teens.


For citizens wanting to donate to the Clear Creek Fire in McDowell County, please use the following drop-off points:

McDowell County Rescue Squad
186 State St.
Marion, NC 28762
(828) 652-6033

Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church
214 P.G. Baptist Church Road
Marion NC 28752
(828) 803-4366

Suggested items are beef jerky, lip balm, eye wash, wool caps/toboggans, bandanas, protein bars, breakfast bars, boot socks, travel-size hand wipes, travel-size hand lotion, travel-size foot powder and hand warmers.


Wildfire News

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