Judge to consider claims against cousins who started Wallow Fire

November 08, 2012

A judge in Flagstaff is set to consider claims of property damage and other losses from last year’s Wallow fire. 

Caleb and David Malboeuf pleaded guilty to accidentally starting the Wallow Fire in May 2011 by abandoning their campfire. The fire burned half a million acres in Arizona and in part of Catron County, New Mexico. To date, it is the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

The Malboeufs received community service as part of their sentence, and the two cousins could also be on the hook for up to $3.5 million.

The prosecution and defense have agreed on $3 million in damage claims, and a U.S. Magistrate in Flagstaff is scheduled Thursday to hear those and additional claims that attorneys on both sides say don’t have enough proof.

The fire cost nearly $80 million to put out. The U.S. Forest Service has agreed not to seek repayment for that money, but it could launch a civil action against the Malboeufs.

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