While B.C. is facing evacuations and destruction to forests and structures from wildfires, and numerous B.C. churches have been hit by suspected arson attempts, other suspected arson fires in open spaces continue to be a problem across the province, with the latest incidents occurring in the Kootenay region of Southeastern B.C.
Southeast District RCMP stated in a news release issued today (July 27) that Salmo RCMP and the Salmo Fire Department responded to four brush fires northwest of the intersection of Highway 3 and 6 on July 24 in the Salmo area, which is located in the Selkirk Mountains.
The fires were extinguished before they could spread further.
Investigators, who “have seized physical evidence from the fire scenes”, believe that all four fires were caused by humans and also “have reason to believe that they may have been deliberately set”, according to Southeast District RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
In addition, fire crews reported seeing a person of interest—an unidentified male described as wearing tan-coloured pants—fleeing from the area on foot.
After those fires, emergency crews have since responded to three more fires in the Salmo area on July 26:
- a small fire discovered around 5 a.m. at the end of Lagoon Road;
- a fire at about 4:30 p.m. at the Bombi;
- a third fire at 5 p.m. near the intersection of Highway 3 and 6.
Investigators are working to determine whether or not there is any connection between all of these fires.
Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Salmo RCMP at 250-357-2212 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
In other recent news, Kelowna RCMP arrested 36-year-old Stephen Leader, who is facing one charge of arson.
In addition, North Vancouver RCMP arrested a male suspect after five suspicious fires took place on July 15.