Police: Harlan County teenager intentionally set several forest fires

HARLAN CO., Ky. (WYMT) - A teenager was arrested Wednesday in Harlan County for setting fires.

Several places in the eastern portion of Harlan County have been in flames for more than a week now.

"It could've been completely avoided if not for the ridiculous act of an arsonist,” said Harlan County Judge/Executive, Dan Mosley.

More than a week of forest fires burned thousands of acres of land in the mountains of Harlan County.

"The Nolansburg fire, alone, is 7,500 acres approximately. That is about half of what's burning across the state,” said Mosley.

They call it one of the worst natural disasters in recent Harlan County history.

"This one has been one of the hardest ones to control because of the terrain and how difficult and how wide of a span it is,” said Mosley.

Police, however, say this so-called natural disaster, in some cases, was fueled, not by nature at all, but instead by a Harlan County teenager.

"We feel that he had been responsible for setting numerous fires, multiple times,” said Harlan County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Matt Cope.

Since the suspect is a juvenile, we cannot release his name.

Police say he put many lives and homes in danger.

"Fire departments and forestry would get one fire out, and just 30 minutes later, that fire would be started again, or started in another area,” said Cope.

The arson caused many hours of extra time, effort, and resources to be used on fires.

"We're not going to tolerate this here in Harlan County,” said Mosley.

Police say the teenager is mostly responsible for fires in the Cloverlick area.

The teenager is facing charges of arson and first-degree wanton endangerment, among other charges.

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