North Carolina man pleads guilty to setting wildfires

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Keith Mann

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Court documents say a Macon County man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of setting wildfires on U.S. Forest Service land.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that a criminal complaint says 49-year-old Keith Mann of Franklin pleaded guilty Wednesday to one charge in connection with wildfires that burned a total of 16 acres in October. He had been arrested in November.

In court documents, Mann said he "wanted to see something burn," adding that his wife recently left him and he didn't have "much to live for." He wrote on one document that he needs help.

The U.S. attorney says Mann could face between five and 20 years in prison.

During last fall, 27 fires burned in the Nantahala National Forest. Just one was caused by a lightning strike.