Southern wildfires continue spread as arson probes opened

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

ATLANTA (AP) – Authorities say firefighters have made progress against many of the large wildfires burning in the Southeast, but several blazes continue to creep into new areas – and they say more fires have been started by suspected arsonists.

National fire officials said Tuesday there are 44 uncontained large fires ongoing in the South covering more than 120,000 acres.

Arson investigations are underway in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky. In North Carolina, authorities say most of the large fires burning in the western part of the state are suspected arsons.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Larry Priester said the agency has offered to help the U.S. Forest Service investigate the cause of the wildfires. He said so far, the BATF has not joined the probe.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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