Judge takes up restitution claims for Wallow Fire victims

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A judge is scheduled Thursday to take up restitution claims for those who suffered property damage or other losses in Arizona's largest wildfire.

Caleb and David Malboeuf could be on the hook for up to $3.5 million. The cousins pleaded guilty to charges that they accidentally started the Wallow Fire in the summer of 2011 by leaving an unattended campfire. The fire burned 840 square miles in Arizona and parts of New Mexico before it was contained.

The prosecution and defense have agreed on more than $3 million in claims. U.S. Magistrate Mark Aspey in Flagstaff will consider those and other claims totaling nearly $500,000 that the attorneys say do not have enough documentation or are questionable.

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed not to seek repayment for the $79 million it cost to fight the fire, but could initiate a civil action.

The Malboeufs were given community service as part of their sentence.

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