A Canadian man who had pushed a conspiracy theory that the Ottawa government started the record-breaking wildfires in Quebec rather than a result of an overheating planet was arrested and charged with 13 counts of arson and one count of arson with disregard for human life.
Over 700 out-of-control wildfires in the province demanded the attention of Canadian firefighters—and international crews to mitigate the burn area. The arson took resources away from critical firefighting efforts.
Thirty-eight-year-old Brian Paré admitted to having started all fourteen fires. The 700 fires were ignited by lightning strikes in the boreal forests of Quebec, not deliberately created by the government as Paré alleged. He was not the only one pushing the lie; even the Albertan Premier dished out the bullpucky. MAGA isn’t just for simple-minded Americans anymore.
Check out the CBC article where MAGA untruths are being spread to upend Canadian military aid to Ukraine by claiming the Trudeau government requires Ukraine to pay a carbon tax.
From The Guardian:
Fire officials investigated a string of five blazes in June that had no possible natural cause and broke out days after the province had implemented a fire ban. The 38-year-old Paré quickly became a suspect when he was spotted in the location of the fires and “demonstrated a certain interest in fires” after an interview with police, said Charron.
In June police began watching his social media posts, which frequently focused on the province’s wildfires. He shared content suggesting the record-breaking fire season was the result of government intervention, not climate change. The prosecution said police specialists developed a suspect profile based on the fires – and increasingly, Paré’s seemed a match.
Police later obtained a warrant to install a tracking device on Paré’s vehicle and found he travelled to locations where other fires were started.
After he was arrested in September, he admitted to starting nine fires and “claimed he was doing tests to find out whether the forest was really dry or not”, Charron told the court.
Canadian wildfire smoke smothered parts of Greenland and reached as far away as Norway.
The 2023 Canadian wildfire season burned 15 million hectares of forest, the size of ‘New York State or three times the size of Nova Scotia,’ due to expansive drought conditions, early snow melt, and low precipitation. The 2024 season is predicted to be as dangerous or more so as conditions currently mirror 2023.
The Canadian Press:
That total is about three million hectares less than what had been previously, and widely, reported. He said that's in part because early estimates can include water bodies and unburned vegetation within the fire perimeter that scientists later identify in more fine-grained analysis.
Quebec led the way with nearly 4.5 million hectares burned, followed by the Northwest Territories, Alberta and British Columbia -- a record for each province and territory.
About 240,000 people were evacuated due to wildfire. Five of the largest wildfire-induced evacuations since 1980 took place last year, including Yellowknife and West Kelowna.
But Jain said there were fewer total fires than the average year. Twenty of the largest fires in 2023 were responsible for half of the total area burned.
Winter zombie fires are smoldering in peat soils in Canada’s far north, which indicates another worrying extreme season is near.
Alberta’s premier is as craven as they come:
But that answer hasn’t satisfied everyone, with alternative speculation ranging from human malice to government conspiracy. The question of arson seems to have taken hold in certain corners of the internet among users who share stories of people charged with arson, and given oxygen not only by Smith, but by federal politician and one-time Conservative leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier, who tweeted earlier this week that he bet “a good portion” of the fires had been “started by green terrorists.”
Some experts have characterized Smith’s statements as misinformation. Yes, she was just raising a concern, but in so doing, she was pushing the idea that there are drivers of fire who are malicious and aren’t being openly talked about by officials.
“It is conspiracy theory and conjecture that the fires across Canada today were mostly arson,” Lori Daniels, a forestry professor at the University of British Columbia, wrote in an email. “The accusation of arson is commonly used to detract from the real drivers of these extreme wildfires and their impacts on people and ecosystems.