The RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit has laid arson charges against an adult female following an in-depth investigation into a series of suspicious wildfires in the Bonnyville and Lac La Biche areas.
During the night of April 24, 2021, Bonnyville RCMP, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority responded to multiple wildfires northwest of Bonnyville and east of Lac La Biche, Alta., within the Forest Protection Area. Investigation by the RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit in collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry determined that numerous wildfires had been started as a result of arson. The investigation identified a suspect.
On May 27, 2021, local authorities responded to a report of seven wildfires near Highway 55 and Highway 881 in the M.D. of Bonnyville. Further investigation led to the arrest of a 54-year-old woman of Glendon, Alta. At the time of arrest, four wildfires were located nearby with a total of 19 wildfires started over the course of a few hours.
The woman was charged with 32 counts of arson. The incidents included in these 32 charges date back to April 24, 2021. She was released on various conditions and is scheduled to appear in Bonnyville Provincial Court on August 17, 2021.
"Public Safety is a shared responsibility and by working together, the Forestry Crimes Unit and their partners can be instrumental in preventing wildfires and promoting public safety. This investigation is the result of a partnership between; Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority, Forestry Crimes Unit and Bonnyville RCMP," says Inspector Pamela Robinson of the RCMP Serious Crimes Branch.
The Forestry Crimes Unit, formalized in January 2018, is an initiative between the RCMP and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry working together to support wildfire investigations and other forestry related crimes in rural areas. The RCMP Forestry Crimes Unit coordinates forestry investigations within RCMP jurisdiction, and provides specialized wildfire expertise to detachment personnel and partner agencies.
If you have information related to suspicious fires in your area, please contact your local RCMP Detachment, police or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.