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Updated May 6, 2013 - 5:36 pm

Man charged in connection with Flagstaff wildfires

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A man suspected of starting a string of wildfires in the northern Arizona forest has been charged criminally.

Mark Mastin had his initial appearance Monday in Flagstaff. The California man is charged with a single count of burning federal land without a permit, but prosecutors say the number of charges against him could grow.

Crews have responded to numerous wildfires in and around Flagstaff lately. Authorities say fire danger is high, but the Coconino National Forest is not under fire restrictions.

Authorities tracked down the 40-year-old Mastin through boot prints found at the fires' origin. According to a criminal complaint, Mastin admitted to starting six of the fires, repeatedly apologized to authorities and offered to clean up the area.

His attorney did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

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