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Arson suspected in several wildfires

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Updated: 4/28/2013 9:47 pm
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. --  Firefighters in St. Johns County say a brush fire they've been battling was no accident.

They say there's an arsonist taking advantage of the extremely dry conditions. While many of the fires this year have been in remote areas, this one was incredibly close to homes.

It took forestry crews several hours to get these flames under control in Greenbriar Plantation early Thursday morning.

Gary Carpenter with the Florida Forest Services says just Thursday morning they had 10 different fires and at least 3 more in the last year. That's why they're now putting up arson signs all over the neighborhood.

"It's very concerning, especially for the homeowners," said Carpenter.

Carpenter says whomever is starting the fires is making it dangerous for neighbors there because the flames are coming so close to the homes.

The largest fire they dealt with was 5 acres, but came within a 100 feet of several homes.

Right now, they're looking at all the spots to get leads on who is starting the fire.  "We do know they're using an incinerator device to get the spark, but that's all we know," said Carpenter.

There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Forest officials say if you do see someone trying to start a fire, call 911.

They have a few other tips for local homeowners. Forestry officials say to keep any vegetation 30 feet from the house and make sure your lawn stays watered.
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