Man Who Accused Government of Starting Fires Actually Started 14 of Them

Arsonist pleads guilty to starting 14 of Canada's fires last summer
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2024 1:30 AM CST
He Accused the Government of Starting Wildfires. Then He Confessed
The McDougall Creek wildfire burns on the mountainside above houses in West Kelowna, British Columbia, on Aug. 18, 2023. This year was Canada's worst fire season on record.   (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

During Canada's record-breaking wildfire season, Brian Paré took to social media over the summer to pooh-pooh the idea that climate change was behind the fires and instead accuse the Canadian government of setting them as part of a conspiracy to make people believe in climate change. But it turns out Paré himself was behind 14 of them. He became a person of interest shortly after a series of five fires in June with no possible natural cause, when he was spotted in the area and "demonstrated a certain interest in fires" when police spoke to him, the Guardian reports. Police started tracking his social media posts, which included the aforementioned conspiracy theories. They also started tracking his car, and found he was at spots where other fires were started in September, the CBC reports.

He was arrested that same month, and police say he then admitted to starting nine fires. "At this point, the accused admitted he was the one who started the fires and, as his main motivation, claimed he was doing tests to find out whether the forest was really dry or not," a prosecutor says. Paré pleaded guilty Monday to 13 counts of arson and one count of arson with disregard for human life. As for the rest of the fires in Canada, almost all of them were caused by lightning striking dry tinder. (More Canada stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.