Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

Two cousins who started Arizona's largest wildfire were sentenced Wednesday to 48 hours in jail and community service.

Caleb and David Malboeuf were camping in eastern Arizona's Apache Sitgreaves National Forest in May 2011 when their campfire spread outside its rings, sparking the Wallow Fire. The blaze burned more than 538,000 acres in Arizona and parts of western New Mexico before it was fully contained.

The cousins pleaded guilty in March to misdemeanor charges of building a campfire without clearing flammable material and leaving it unattended.

The fire destroyed 32 homes and four rental cabins, and at one point, nearly 10,000 people were forced to evacuate.

The U.S. Forest Service agreed not to seek repayment of the $79 million it cost to fight the blaze through the criminal case but could initiate a civil action. Prosecutors in Greenlee and Apache counties also agreed not to file state charges against the Malboeufs.

Prosecutors said the men offered consistent accounts and have cooperated with authorities.

The Malboeufs told Aspey earlier this year that they believed the campfire was out because they did not see any flames or smoke rising from it hours after it was lit to cook breakfast, and a candy wrapper one of them threw into the fire didn't melt. But they conceded that they had not stirred the coals or felt them to ensure it was properly extinguished before they went for a hike.

"They believed that there was no need to douse the fire with water because they believed the fire to be out," said David Malboeuf's attorney, Stephen Glazer. "They were wrong in their belief."

The Malboeufs smelled and saw smoke near the campsite on their way back from the hike.

Associated Press,

share this story:
Attention KTAR.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

    SCF Arizona has a new name. They are now CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Taylor Morrison

    World Class People. World Class Company. We are a national home builder committed to building homes inspired by you.
  • Go Daddy

    World Class People. World Class Company. Go Daddy is a Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For."
  • Avnet

    World Class People. World Class Company. Here's information on a Fortune 500 company from Arizona.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Working For Arizona

    The business and economics of Arizona at the start of 2014 and looking forward.
  • Arizonans In Need

    Putting a focus on charities and organizations who provide help and/or need your help to fulfill their missions.
close

Share: