Fort Smith, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Jacob Walls, age 28, of Harrison, Arkansas, has been arrested and charged in connection to a wildland fire set in February 2019 within the Buffalo National River.
In February 2019, National Park Service (NPS) Firefighters and US Park Rangers were dispatched to the report of a wildland fire, in Newton County, near Pruitt. The indictment alleges that Walls willfully and without authority and consent of the United States set fire to National Park Service land. The fire was contained by NPS Firefighters to prevent its spread onto private lands. Walls was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in March and a trial date has been set for December 7, 2020. The Honorable Mark E. Ford, United States Magistrate Judge, presided over the arraignment in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.
The case was investigated by the National Park Service (NPS), Investigative Services Branch, the US Park Rangers at Buffalo National River, the Newton County Sheriff’s Department and the 14th Arkansas Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Claude Hawkins is prosecuting the case for the United States.
An indictment is an allegation and Wells is presumed innocent until convicted. Wells faces up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000.00 if convicted.