Quebec man charged with arson after allegedly setting wildfires, causing evacuations

As of September nearly 15,000 square kilometres of forests have been destroyed, and countless people displaced.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
A man from northern Quebec has been arrested and charged with two counts of arson following a weeks-long manhunt. The 37-year-old, whose name has not been released, is accused of intentionally setting fire to forests in the area near Chibougamau, a town 500km north of the provincial capital, from which 7,500 residents had to be evacuated in early June.

Quebec was battered by wildfires all summer long, and though it has been claimed that firefighters were able to quickly extinguish those allegedly set by the suspect, an investigation is underway to determine whether they were, in fact, linked to those that wreaked havoc on la belle province.

According to the CBC, the suspect appeared in court virtually via videoconference on Thursday from his home in Chibougamau. During proceedings, it was alleged that he had set a series of fires in the area between May 31 and September 5. Most of the blazes were said to have occurred in the forest, however, in one instance he allegedly torched a fishing cabin.

The province's police force, Sûreté du Québec, quickly mobilized members of its major crimes unit and were able to track the man down. The team is looking into whether his actions led to the fires that caused the aforementioned evacuation from Chibougamau.

In an interview with CBC Radio Canada, the town's mayor Manon Cyr claimed that the suspect had only set small blazes that firefighters were able to put out before they spread out of control.

The man's next court date has been set for September 11, until which point he will remain in custody. If found guilty, he could face up to 14 years in prison.

As the CBC reports, while wildfires are not uncommon in Quebec, this year hit particularly hard. As of September nearly 15,000 square kilometres of forests have been destroyed, and countless people displaced.
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