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Starting a wildfire in Arizona can come with big consequences

Posted at 5:38 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 08:17:44-04

The majority of wildfires across the country are human-caused, according to experts.

According to the National Park Service around 90 percent of wildland fires in the U.S. are human-caused.

Attorney Marc Lamber, a legal analyst withLamber Goodnow, says in Arizona, sparking a wildfire comes with some big consequences.

Leonard Gregg, a part-time firefighter, served ten years in prison after he admitted to starting the Rodeo Fire, to make work for himself. The Rodeo Fire eventually merged with the Chediski Fire, and together they destroyed 500 homes near Show Low.

In 2011, David and Caleb Malboeuf accidentally started the Wallow Fire, by leaving a campfire unattended in the White Mountains.

RELATED: See where fires are burning across the state

Lamber says the Malboeufs spent just a few days in jail and had to complete hundreds of hours of community service.

Lamber says the punishment comes down to intent.

"The criminal law is going to look at criminal intent," Lamber said. "So did someone intend to cause the fire? Did they negligently cause the fire? Or was it just an accident?"

FULL SECTION: Arizona wildfires