Two cousins owe $3.7 million for Wallow fire

Wallow Fire. Photo by Jason Coil
Wallow Fire. Photo by Jason Coil
Wallow Fire. Photo by Jayson Coil.

Two men who are cousins have been ordered to pay $3.7 million for accidentally starting what became the largest fire in Arizona history. Last May David and Caleb Malboeuf left a campfire unattended in the eastern part of the state which escaped and became the Wallow Fire, eventually burning 538,040 acres, which includes 15,407 acres after it crossed the border into New Mexico.

The Malboeufs have asked the U.S. Magistrate to set the monthly payments for Caleb at $500 and $250 for David. At that rate it will take them about 4,900 years to pay it off.

The $3.7 million only includes claims that have been filed and approved by the court for actual damages that occurred, mostly on private land. The U.S. Forest Service agreed not to seek repayment for $79 million in suppression costs. However the agency and any of the victims could later initiate civil actions against the Malboeufs.

We initially reported on the early stages of this settlement in September.


Thanks go out to Mark and Kelly.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.