Authorities in DeKalb County, Ala., have charged two local men with starting two of the more than 150 wildfires firefighters have battled during the ongoing drought.
Todd Thomas Stone, 33 of Cedar Bluff, was charged with second-degree arson and second-degree criminal mischief in connection with an Oct. 24 barn fire on County Road 107.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said investigators found that the barn had been rammed and 100 bales of hay, a $50,000 hay baler and two lawn mowers were destroyed in the blaze.
The situation was bit more tense when 69-year-old Boaz resident Jerry Nabors was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and willfully setting fire to wild lands, Harris said in a statement. The blaze Nabors allegedly started burned 25 to 30 acres, officials said.
On Monday, authorities responded to a fire at a County Road 379 home in the Aroney community where fire officials approached Nabors to ask him to put out the fire, but he refused "and ran them off."
Forestry Commission officials and DeKalb deputies went to Nabors' home to ask about the fire he left unattended. Harris said deputies found Nabors sitting on the porch with a firearm that he refused to put away. The charge of setting fire to wildlands was filed on Tuesday, Harris said.
"We are still under the fire ban and the drought emergency in our county, so please take the advice of the Alabama Forestry Commission and don't start any fires," Harris said. "[E]ven if they are small they can still easily spread."