Fire investigators: Blaze may be blamed on teens - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fire investigators: Blaze may be blamed on teens

A weekend woods fire near Hwy 57 in Ocean Springs burned 850 acres. Investigators are still trying to determine how the blaze started, but believe it may have been set by human hands. A weekend woods fire near Hwy 57 in Ocean Springs burned 850 acres. Investigators are still trying to determine how the blaze started, but believe it may have been set by human hands.
The red outline on this Google map shows the boundaries of the weekend fire in Ocean Springs. (Click on the link in the story for a larger view.) The red outline on this Google map shows the boundaries of the weekend fire in Ocean Springs. (Click on the link in the story for a larger view.)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

A group of teens could be to blame for a woods fire that burned 850 acres of land in Ocean Springs this weekend.

The fire started between Plymouth and Tapp Roads in Ocean Springs. That's the same area where Fontainebleau Fire Chief Michael Belton said he spotted four teenagers riding ATVs and four others on foot Saturday. When he spotted the teens, they were driving away from the scene.

"I told them to get out of there and they almost ran me over," the chief told WLOX News.

Randy Wilson with the Mississippi Forestry Commission said it's unlikely the kids arrived after the fire started because of how soon the teens were there after fire started.

"They either know who did it, or had something to do with it. It doesn't happen that way," Wilson said.

The Forestry Commission said the fire spread at least six miles over the weekend. If anyone has any information on who started the blaze, please call the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at (228) 769-3063.

Danielle Thomas is flying over the charred area with forestry officials today to get a closer look at the damage left behind. Later today on WLOX News, she'll show us that aerial video, as well as a special uncut version of the chopper video on WLOX.com.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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