Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Two cousins are scheduled to make their initial appearance September 19 in federal court in Flagstaff to answer charges connected with the cause of the Wallow Fire.
Caleb Joshua Malboeuf, 26, of Benson, Ariz.; and David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, of Tucson, Ariz., were named in a criminal complaint as being responsible for the Wallow Fire, which started on May 29 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
The fire burned more than 538,000 acres in Arizona and part of Western New Mexico before it was contained.
Fueled by dry and windy conditions, the fire destroyed 32 residential structures, four commercial structures and 36 outbuildings and cost over $79 million to fight.
Effective Friday, July 8, the closing of the northwest portion of the Gila National Forest has been lifted with the exception of roughly 10 miles in and around the Head of Ditch Camp Ground near the Arizona border. This area will remain closed for public safety reasons. Please note that both Pueblo Park and Cottonwood Park have been reopened. See the attached map for the new closure area.
In a statement released June 21, Catron County Commissioner Glyn Griffin said an emphasis on environmental protection in the national forests is a contributor to destructive and large wildland fires.
The Wallow Fire is 56 percent contained, with a total of 527,774 acres burned.
Power has been fully restored to Reserve and Luna, and in Alpine and Nutrioso, Ariz. Power remains out in areas north of the Blue River. Evacuations remain in effect for Luna, and in areas north of the Blue River.
High winds from the southwest restricted air support operations after 11 a.m. Sunday. Structure protection remained in place to protect the towns of Luna and Alpine, as well as the Blue River community. Additional resources were brought in to assist with the containment efforts, and replace crews that timed out. Fire did burn northeast of Luna about five miles into the Bishop Canyon area. Fire in the Blue River backed down close to the road by the Blue camp ground, and by mile markers 26 and 31.
The Wallow Fire has jumped containment lines along Highway 180. The residents of Luna were ordered to evacuate yesterday afternoon. Structural protection is in place. Air resources in defense of Luna were grounded yesterday due to high winds.
An evacuation center is open at the High School in Reserve for Luna residents.
Northbound Highway 180 is closed from the junction with Highway 12 to the Arizona state line.
Air support began early this morning to work on objectives before the expected wind gusts arrive and air support is forced to be grounded.
The National Weather Service continues its Red Flag Warning for today until 8 p.m. for strong winds and low relative humidity. Smoke will continue to impact residents in the Wallow Fire area and in southwestern New Mexico.