Sawyer woman accused of attempting to start wildfire

Katie Ann Marie Shaw reportedly led law enforcement to a sawed-off shotgun she hid in Cloquet and told investigators she tried to “light the forest on fire.”

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A Sawyer woman is in custody at the Carlton County Jail after being charged with attempting to start a wildfire last summer in Cloquet.

Katie Ann Marie Shaw, 31, was arrested Thursday, May 13, after failing to appear at a court hearing in March. Shaw is charged with felony attempted wildfire arson.

According to the complaint, Carlton County sheriff's deputies were searching for a missing or stolen car being driven by Shaw. The deputies located the vehicle in rural Carlton with Shaw sleeping in the driver’s seat Aug. 30.

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Katie Ann Marie Shaw


After waking Shaw, deputies and Cloquet police officers found a machete, an axe, hypodermic syringes and Suboxone — a drug used to alleviate the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

During the search, Shaw asked the officers if witnesses had mentioned a gun. When law enforcement asked what she meant, she explained there was a “very large gun” in the vehicle, according to the complaint. Shaw said she believed she was being set up and hid the weapon in the woods near the USG plant in Cloquet. She led officers to a sawed-off shotgun hidden in a wooded area.

While in the woods, Shaw also admitted to attempting to “light the forest on fire” because she believed the trees in the area needed to be “thinned out,” the complaint said. Shaw led deputies to a small burned-out area where she said she attempted to start the blaze.

If convicted on the felony charge, Shaw faces up to 2.5 years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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