Johnny Mullins was arrested for arson last week after admitting he started a fire to get more engagement on his Facebook videos.
Johnny Mullins, 21, records “weather forecast” videos and shares them on Facebook, Jenkins Police Chief James Stephens told the Associated Press.
“It’s really too bad because he’s not a bad kid — he’s just misguided,” Stephens said. “He likes to do Facebook videos and have people follow him on his ‘weather forecast,’ so that’s pretty much why he did what he did. He enjoyed the attention he got from the Facebook stuff.”
Police arrested Mullins and charged him with second-degree arson for starting the blaze in Letcher County.
He reportedly admitted to police that he set the fire because he liked the attention it brought him on Facebook.
“He didn’t realize how much danger he was putting other people in,” Stephens said.
Mullins selfie videos featured him in front of various fires, according to Stephens. His final selfie video, posted on Nov. 6, received 2,900 views, NBC News reports.
“Good afternoon everybody, Johnny Mullins here updating you with some dangerous forest fire conditions we are dealing with this afternoon,” he says in the video. “As you can see, we are dealing with some dangerous forest fire conditions. We have trees that actually are on fire … They are continuously just beginning to stay on fire.”
Mullins pans the camera to show the fire’s flames, and the helicopters working to fight the blaze can be heard overhead.
He states that he does not want to get close to the smoke before telling viewers he is going to move closer so they can get a better look at the fire; he then coughs from the smoke.
“We are dealing with some very, very dangerous conditions,” he says repeatedly.
“Be extremely careful if you’re out there,” Stephens said Mullins said in a video, according to NBC News.
In a separate incident, authorities arrested a Harlan County, Kentucky, teenager for arson around the same time as Mullins.
There have been at least 30 wildfires in the Southeast region of the U.S. since Nov. 4.
Authorities in North Carolina and Georgia believe arsonists are responsible for the fires in their states, but no arrests have been made.
In Georgia, authorities are searching for a tan-colored SUV that was seen near the area of several roadside fires that are believed to have been intentionally set, Andy Beck, a dispatcher for the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, said.
The roadside fires eventually merged into a larger blaze, Rabun County Assistant Fire Chief Justin Upchurch told AP.
Tens of thousands of acres have burned in the fires.