Friday, August 26, 2011

Joshua Malboeuf, 26, and David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, left Camp Fire Burning which caused the largest fire in Arizona's history - 26th Aug 2011

Two hikers are facing lengthy jail sentences having been accused of starting the largest blaze in the state of Arizona's history by allowing their camp fire get out of control.

Cousins Caleb Joshua Malboeuf, 26, and David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, are accused of starting the Wallow fire which devastated more than 538,000 acres in eastern Arizona and parts of western New Mexico.

The blaze cost more than $79 million to fight and destroyed 32 homes, four commercial structures and 36 outbuildings. Around 6000 people had to be evacuated.

The Forest Service claim the men were camping in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest when the fire began on May 29 this year.

They are alleged to have left their camp fire unattended in high winds which caused it to spread rapidly.

They each face five counts, including leaving a fire unattended and failing to maintain control of a fire that damaged a National Forest System.

A spokesman for the Forest Service said: 'Upon noticing smoke from the direction of their campsite, the cousins attempted to get back to their campsite where they had left their gear.

'As they got closer, the smoke and flames became too intense, and they were forced to retreat.'

The offences each carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. Read More