Mounties in Shawnigan Lake are seeking a suspect or suspects in connection with a crime committed at the Malahat Lookout.
Early Friday (July 2) morning, police were called to the highway area 25 kilometres from Victoria after a motorist spotted a totem pole on fire.
When officers showed up, the Malahat Volunteer Fire Department was putting out the blaze.
"The quick thinking of the passing motorist likely saved not only the totem pole, but also a forest fire," Shawnigan Lake RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Tim Desaulniers said in a news release. "This was a very dangerous act that could have had far reaching consequences. We will be working with partners along the Malahat for video and dashcam footage in an effort to identify suspect(s)."
Graffiti on a concrete barrier suggests that the fire was set in retaliation for the sinking of a Capt. James Cook statue in Victoria's Inner Harbour on Canada Day.
Last summer, Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation and Chief Rob Thomas of the Esquimalt Nation criticized acts of vandalism against statues on the grounds of the legislature.