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Putnam takes aim at arson in wildfires

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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that more than 240 of the wildfires that have blazed across Florida this year were caused by arson.

And with Gov. Rick Scott declaring a wildfire state of emergency this week, Putnam asked for help from Floridians to reduce the man-made blazes.

"Wildland arsonists place lives, property and natural resources at risk, and we will not tolerate anyone who purposefully endangers Floridians and our first responders," Putnam said in a prepared statement.

The Florida Forest Service has reported 1,494 fires in the state this year, consuming nearly 80,000 acres.

The more than 240 fires stemming from arson represent a nearly 70 percent increase from a year ago, Putnam's office said.

On Wednesday, a day after Scott issued his emergency order, the governor directed the Florida National Guard to provide a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for potential firefighting missions.