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Thread: Men responsible for Wallow fire face federal charges

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    Default Men responsible for Wallow fire face federal charges

    Wallow Fire: 2 Arizona cousins are facing federal charges

    by JJ Hensley - Aug. 25, 2011 12:00 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    Authorities for months have blamed Arizona's largest known wildfire on an unattended campfire that got out of hand.
    On Wednesday, they put names to the campers they say are responsible, charging two cousins from southern Arizona with sparking the Wallow Fire.
    Caleb Joshua Malboeuf, 26, of Benson, and David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, of Tucson, were charged with five low-level federal offenses related to the campfire they started in late May and are alleged to have not extinguished properly.

    Arizona wildfire: Wallow Fire near Alpine
    The blaze charred more than 538,000 acres in eastern Arizona, destroying 32 homes, four businesses and more than 30 barns, sheds and other buildings during the six weeks that it burned out of control in the Apache National Forest.
    The blaze cost more than $79 million to suppress, according to court records, and took a heavy toll on the mountain hamlet of Greer, where 21 homes were lost. As it moved through the forest, the fire nearly destroyed the communities of Alpine, Nutrioso and Eagar along the way.
    As residents there continue to clean up from the fire and floods that followed, Wednesday's announcement that two men would be charged in connection with the blaze left many residents pondering how much liability the campers should bear. And questions over whether the Forest Service reacted quickly enough to the fire still linger.
    "I don't think there's an extremist environment here in Greer, but all of us lost a lot, and we want answers to those questions," said Roy Laos, a full-time Greer resident. "Whether it's through the Forest Service or through the adjudication process, all we want is the truth."
    Blaze investigation

    The Malboeufs are scheduled to make an initial appearance Sept. 19 in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff.
    The charges relate to federal offenses of starting a wildfire on federal land, leaving a campfire unattended and failing to extinguish or remove flammable material from the area near the campfire. Each of the five offenses carries with it a penalty of up to six months in prison, a $5,000 fine or both, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
    The circumstances that led to the Wallow Fire are detailed in a federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday. The complaint is based in large part on statements the Malboeufs made to investigators during interviews conducted immediately after the fire and through the summer.
    The Malboeufs arrived in the Bear Wallow Wilderness with their two dogs on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, setting up camp near a creek that night where they cooked dinner over a campfire. The fire was in a ring, according to court documents, and the campers let it go out on its own that night. They lit it again the following morning to make breakfast.
    The cousins told investigators that they remained in camp for several hours and, assuming the fire was out, embarked on a hike while leaving their blue heeler dogs and camping equipment behind.
    "They stated that they believed their campfire was out because David threw a candy wrapper in the fire just prior to their departure, and it did not melt," court documents said.
    But when they were returning to their campsite several hours later, the Malboeufs told investigators, they could smell and see smoke from the area.
    "They tried to return to camp to cut their dogs loose, which they had left tied up in camp, but could not get close because of the fire and smoke," the complaint stated.

    The cousins ran from the area toward the Black River where they stayed overnight, according to court documents.
    The following morning they hiked to a forest road and got a ride to their car from an Apache County sheriff's deputy. The sheriff's deputy alerted a Forest Service law-enforcement officer who met the men at the campsite.
    Forest Service officials continued to keep in contact with the cousins through June and July as they investigated the fire's origin, according to court records. Their stories never changed.
    The Malboeufs told investigators that they are experienced campers who have made frequent trips to the Apache National Forest and that they chose their site because it looked well-used, leaving them with the impression that they did not need to clear away flammable material, according to court documents.
    They did not take a shovel or bucket into the woods and had not used water or dirt to put out the fires, the complaint said.
    When fire investigators returned to the scene two weeks after the fire started, they found the camping equipment the Malboeufs described and the two dogs tied to trees. One was dead and the other still alive, according to the complaint.
    "There had been no attempt to clear any flammable materials from around the campfire to prevent its escape," according to court documents.
    Caleb Malboeuf's mother, Mary Malboeuf, also of Benson, said Wednesday that she was shocked her son had been charged with causing the Wallow Fire.
    "It is tragic," she said. "I love my son. He is a good man. . . . I just talked to him yesterday."
    Response questioned

    Laos said the version of events outlined in court records, including details about the candy wrapper and the dogs, had been circulating in Greer for a couple of months.
    Residents there are as concerned with the U.S. Forest Service's response to the fire as they are with the actions the cousins took after discovering the blaze, Laos said, particularly because the Malboeufs contacted a sheriff's deputy the following day and were interviewed by a Forest Service agent soon thereafter.
    Many in the area believe the Forest Service was slow to respond in the days after the blaze was spotted, inadvertently allowing the Wallow Fire to grow out of control.
    A U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

    "There are a lot of factors, but the two factors we do want answers to are: Why wasn't there an early response to this fire?" Laos asked. "And how culpable are these two campers for starting the fire?"
    The latter was a question that gripped northern Arizona nearly a decade ago as residents there tried to recover from what was, before the Wallow Fire, the state's biggest wildfire, Rodeo-Chediski.
    Leonard Gregg, a part-time firefighter, received a 10-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay nearly $28 million in restitution for intentionally setting what became the Rodeo Fire. But Valinda Jo Elliott, whose signal fire started the Chediski portion of the blaze, was not charged because prosecutors concluded there was no criminal intent. A federal appeals court ruled that she could face civil penalties.
    Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney in Arizona who made the decision to not charge Elliott criminally, said that prosecutors might have weighed similar issues when considering the charges against the Malboeufs.

    source: Wallow Fire: 2 Arizona cousins are facing federal charges






    So, where should they be deported, Senator????






    How Do You Prevent Arizona’s Wildfires? John McCain Says ‘Deportation’

    Creative Commons/SoggyDan by Jorge Rivas
    Monday, June 20 2011, 4:22 PM EST

    Republican senator John McCain is blaming undocumented immigrants for the wildfires spreading across Arizona. The state currently has five active wildfires that together have burned close to 764,000 acres, according to InciWeb, an online interagency database that tracks fires. McCain offered no evidence that the current fires were started by immigrants, and yet said:

    “There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally,” McCain said in a press conference Saturday, CNN reported.

    “They have set fires because they signal others, they have set fires to keep warm, and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them,” McCain explained before going on to offer his solution. “The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border.”

    On Sunday, one day after McCain made his claims, the U.S. Forest Service reported there is no evidence that undocumented immigrants started any of the wildfires in Arizona.

    According to ABC News, when Tom Berglund, spokesman for the federal group managing the Wallow fire that McCain toured Saturday, was asked if there is substantial evidence that some fires were caused by undocumented immigrants Berglund responded with: “Absolutely not, at this level.”

    Randy Parraz, a civil rights advocate who ran unsuccessfully against McCain as a Democratic candidate in 2010 for Arizona State Senator, called McCain’s accusations “careless and reckless.”

    “It’s easier to fan the flames of intolerance, especially in Arizona,” Parraz said.

    “The degree of irresponsible political pandering by Sen. McCain has no limits,” Angelo Falcon, the president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, told CNN. “With the lack of evidence, he might as well also blame aliens from outer space for the fires.”
    How Do You Prevent Arizona’s Wildfires? John McCain Says ‘Deportation’ - COLORLINES

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

    -- Stephen Hawking

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    Doesn't "Malboeuf" mean "bad cow" in French? How does one get such a name?

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    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    Oh that poor dog! I hate, hate, HATE when this shit happens. A candy wrapper test? If you're going to tie helpless animals next to a fire with flammable objects nearby, test the fire is out by shoving your damn hand in the pit.

    Bing translated the name into "evil beef".
    Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its bum"?


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