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Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency Monday as dry, windy weather worsened conditions. His orders allow Florida to use federal funds and bring local emergency workers under state control. It also allows Florida to call on other states for help, if necessary.
Firefighters may get some help Tuesday, since winds on the coast were expected to slow to 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph), according to the National Weather Service. Authorities said the fire at Malabar may be the result of arson. A witness saw someone in a car drop something into an open field, and the fire started shortly afterward, an arson investigator said.