ST. PAUL  (AP) — State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl is reminding citizens to be on the watch for arson, and report anything suspicious to authorities.

Sunday marks the start of National Arson Awareness Week. Rosendahl is using the opportunity to remind citizens that arson is a crime — and it's not victimless.

More than 1,200 arson fires were reported in Minnesota in 2009. That includes 330 structure fires and 159 vehicle fires, with a total dollar loss of more than $6 million.

Since 1989, arson fires led to at least 53 deaths in Minnesota.

Rosendahl says investigators need the community's help to catch arsonists.

To prevent arson, he says citizens should not leave leaves, firewood or other combustibles near buildings, and doors and windows of unoccupied buildings should stay locked.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.