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Firefighters put out second suspected arson fire in Croatan Forest

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A suspected arsonist is on the loose after setting five fires in the Croatan National Forest.

The U.S. Forest service says on Monday someone set fire to the trees on Old Church Road near Peletier in Carteret County.

Those five fires, covering 40 acres, are out, but now they've spread to the Pocosin Swamp, which will probably burn for weeks, says James Cherry, district fire management officer.

Nobody has reported any injuries or property damage, despite the fire threatening several buildings last night.

This is the second suspected arson in the Croatan National Forest this year.

The other one was a 400-acre fire back in March on Highway 24 and Nine Mile Road near Broad Creek. But the agency isn't sure whether the two incidents are related.

"These kind of fires, they pose a threat not only to the structures in the area, but also a threat to the firefighters as well," said Cherry.

Cherry says anyone caught setting a fire in the Croatan National Forest faces thousands of dollars in restitution costs, a stiff fine, and possibly jail time.

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