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Sarasota County fire nearly contained; others spring up

A fire that has burned 5,800 acres in Sarasota County was stabilized Saturday, but crews continued to battle a series of other blazes around the state.

Forestry officials said the blaze was about 50 percent contained Saturday. It was ignited Monday when lighting struck a tree, firefighters said.

That blaze was one of nearly 3,000 wildfires in Florida so far this year. Fire officials blame a lack of rain and lightning storms that strike without precipitation.

Of the 29 fires burning in Florida on Saturday, 13 were believed to have been intentionally set, said Jim Harrell, coordinator for the Florida Division of Forestry.

Because of the hot, dry conditions across Florida, a statewide ban was announced Wednesday for all outdoor burning, except for barbecue grilling.

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