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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A man suspected of starting a string of forest wildfires near Flagstaff isn't mentally capable of understanding the charges against him.

A competency hearing was held Thursday in a federal court in Flagstaff for 40-year-old Mark Mastin.

He was charged earlier this month with one count of burning federal land without a permit.

Authorities tracked 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.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports that a judge has decided not to allow Mastin to be charged with nine new counts of setting timber afire because he was mentally incompetent.


Information from: Arizona Daily Sun,

Associated Press,

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