PHOENIX — A Mesa man accused of starting a nearly 18,000-acre wildfire in
the Tonto National Forest is set for a change of plea hearing.
Steven Craig Shiflet was target shooting with a group of friends in May when he
pointed a shotgun loaded with a flame-throwing shell at a soda box in a cleared
area near Payson. Smoke soon appeared in the brush, and the group couldn’t
extinguish the blaze.
Shiflet is facing three charges. Each one carries a maximum penalty of six
months in prison and a $5,000 upon conviction.
It’s unclear what he’ll plead to at Monday’s hearing in Phoenix. A spokeswoman
for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says she had no further information. A call to
Shiflet’s attorney’s office wasn’t immediately returned.