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Forestry worker is arson suspect
Employees identity has not yet been released
Terrell Mill fire
An aerial photo taken last week from a helicopter shows smoke emanating from the Terrell Mill Pond fire. - photo by Photo provided by

Terrell Mill Pond fire 75 percent contained

The Terrell Mill Pond fire in Hinesville, which has been burning for nearly two weeks, is about 75 percent contained, according to information provided by Nicole Hawk, public affairs specialist for the USDA Forest Service.

Residents can expect to continue seeing smoke in the area. The fire is smoldering in organic materials and is being provided additional fuel by falling trees. Fire personnel also may have to conduct burnout operations to improve existing control lines and starve the fire of fuels.

The USDA Forest Service presently estimates that the fire has consumed about 345 acres.

A Georgia Forestry Commission employee, who is a suspect in an arson investigation, has been placed on leave.

GFC Director of Public Relations Wendy Burnett said Friday that during the past several weeks, authorities have been conducting an investigation regarding an isolated fire in the Long County area. Information obtained during the investigation indicates that a GFC employee may have intentionally started the fire.

Burnett said the employee, who she could not identify, has been sent home and put on paid leave pending additional personnel actions, which will be separate from criminal charges. She also said all of the information stemming from the investigation had been turned over to the Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

AJC District Attorney Tom Durden said Friday that he could not confirm whether the suspected employee is a member of the Long County Forestry Unit.

"At this point, all I can say is that this is an ongoing investigation and that we have just very recently received this information," Durden said.

The district attorney added that he would provide pertinent information to the media as it becomes available.

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