Man charged with setting Stave Lake forest fires

Christopher White, 35, is accused of starting three fires between 2008 and 2010 in the Stave Lake West area.

A man has been charged with setting three fires in the Stave Lake West area between 2008 and 2010.

A Maple Ridge man has been charged with deliberately starting three forest fires in the Stave Lake area between 2008 and 2010.

Christopher White, 35, of Maple Ridge, has been charged with three counts of arson that damaged property. White was scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday in Abbotsford Provincial Court.

The charges are linked to three fires in the same geographic area that occurred in consecutive years in the first half of July: on July 13, 2008, July 8, 2009 and July 14, 2010.

The RCMP says its forest crimes unit received a report from the provincial forest ministry regarding several suspicious fires, in the same area on the west side of Stave Lake, accessed via the Florence Lake Forest Service Road.

The charges come as a result of a joint investigation of the forest crimes unit and the Mission RCMP, with assistance from the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the BC Wildlife Service.

“Suspected cases of arson are taken very seriously as they can put communities, resources and infrastructure at risk,” said the RCMP in a news release.