Bishopville man, 61, arrested for arson of Lee County woods

Blaze burned 2 acres before extinguished


A 61-year-old Bishopville man was arrested on Jan. 25 on a charges of arson for reportedly setting fire to forestland in Lee County.

An eyewitness told a Lee County Fire Department firefighter she saw Harry Charles light a fire to woods on Raccoon Road on Wednesday, Jan. 24 and that when she asked him what he was doing, she claimed he did not answer and walked away, according to Doug Wood, director of communications for the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission and Lee County Fire Department extinguished the fire after it burned about 2 acres of "herbaceous vegetation and woods," Wood said.

Charles was arrested by Forestry Commission law enforcement officers and booked into the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center on Thursday, where he is awaiting a trial set for Feb. 15 on the felony charge.

Wood said forestry and timber-related businesses make up the second-largest manufacturing industry in South Carolina and that crimes against public and private forest resources cost landowners millions of dollars a year.

If convicted, Charles faces a fine of not more than $5,000 or a prison sentence of not more than five years.