Man Blames Wildfires on Government, Then Pleads Guilty

( – It seems to be a grim part of modern Western life in the 21st century: people who claim to be victims of the actions of other parties so often turn out to be the perpetrators themselves. When no one is actually hurt, such as in the case of American actor Jussie Smollett, the situation can seem almost comical.

But forest fires are another matter. Canadian news is reporting that a man who accused the government of setting forest fires throughout Quebec has confessed to being the firebug himself.

On January 15th Quebec man Brian Paré, 38, confessed to setting 14 fires during a hearing at the Chibougamua courthouse. The province charged him with 13 counts of arson and one count of arson with disregard for human life.

Hundreds of lives were threatened by Paré’s violence. People who lived in 500 homes near just two of the blazes had to evacuate from the small town of Chapais, which is 264 miles northwest of Quebec City.

Marie-Phillipe Charron, who is prosecuting the case, said Chapais issued an evacuation order when two fires sprang up. One of them started at Lake Cavan, and the other at a nearby airport.

Evacuated citizens were not allowed to return home until June 3rd, Charron said, and the Lake Cavan fire was among the biggest set by Paré, burning 873 hectares of woodland. That fire was just one of five set by Paré between May 31st and the first of June. The fires began just three days after the provincial government announced a ban on open fires due to the dangerously dry conditions of the brush and the lack of rain.

Officials suspected human foul play from the start, with police and first responders stating that some of the blazes “had no possible natural cause.” There was also evidence that the fires were deliberately set, though those details have not yet been disclosed.

Amazingly, Paré told police he was motivated to set the fires to find out whether the forest was really as dry as the government claimed.

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