The massive wildfire in Northern Alberta that torched 2730 square kilometres earlier this year was caused by arson according to the RCMP.
The fire, which burned from May 18 to July 1 before it could be contained, resulted in the evacuation of several communities and first nations in Northern Alberta. Authorities are now looking for witnesses to the crime.
Out of the hundreds of fires that occurred in Alberta in 2019, the McMillan fire caused 31% of all damage to the province’s forests.
“To the families affected by this wildfire who were evacuated, and the forest industry who suffered losses, we will find the person responsible for the McMillian wildfire,” Alberta Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen said.
“This is an important step in helping to build trust in Alberta’s justice system.”
In the wake of the wildfires, the Alberta government announced that they will be providing $30 million in disaster relief.
The conclusion that one of Alberta’s largest forest fires in 2019 was started by arson conflicts with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claims that climate change is the real culprit.
Trudeau has said he believes forest fires are caused by global warming.
He said that people will have to live with the “new reality” climate change has brought in.
“To make sure that we learn how to protect people, how to protect livelihoods, and how we adjust to what is, unfortunately, a new reality of more extreme weather events across the province, across the country, and around the world,” Trudeau said last year.
Despite not having conclusive evidence, Trudeau claimed that his carbon tax would prevent forest fires.
“Extreme weather events are extraordinarily expensive for Canadians, our communities and our economy,” he said.
“We need to be taking real action to prevent climate change. That’s why we’re moving forward on a price on pollution right across the country, despite the fact that Conservative politicians are trying to push back against that.”
This claim was echoed by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, blasting the then newly elected Jason Kenney for ending the carbon tax, essentially claiming that his government was contributing to forest fires.