Defendants in Ariz. wildfire reach plea agreements

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Two cousins charged with accidentally causing the largest wildfire in Arizona history have reached plea agreements with prosecutors.

Court documents show that Caleb Malboeuf and David Malboeuf are scheduled for a change of plea hearing on March 27 in federal magistrate court in Flagstaff.

The Malboeufs had been charged with five counts, including leaving a fire unattended and failing to maintain control of a fire that damaged a national forest.

Caleb Malboeuf's attorney, David Derickson, says the agreement will lessen the charges but declined Thursday to provide details, as did the prosecution.

A second defense attorney did not return messages.

The Wallow Fire burned more than 538,000 acres in eastern Arizona and parts of western New Mexico last year, destroying 32 homes, and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.