Man charged with 23 counts of arson for series of fires around Smoky Lake

A file photo of an RCMP badge. File / Global News

A Smoky Lake man is set to appear in provincial court later this month after he was charged with 23 counts of arson in connection with several fires dating back to 2012.

Police were able to identify a suspect and vehicle after a grass fire just east of Smoky Lake on May 4, RCMP said in a media release Wednesday. On May 15, RCMP allege the same suspect started another fire.

Last Thursday, 42-year-old Daniel Kromm was arrested and charged with 23 counts of arson. He was apprehended by the RCMP’s newly minted Forestry Crimes Unit.

“The Forestry Crimes Unit, formalized in January 2018, is an initiative where the RCMP and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry can work together to support wildfire investigations and other forestry related crimes in rural areas,” the media release said.

READ MORE: Edmonton fire ban issued due to hot, dry, windy conditions

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RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Rubuliak, who runs the Forestry Crimes Unit, said it has worked closely with a number of other units over the course of its investigations.

“In the case of our recent Smoky Lake investigation for example, it was the GIS RCMP members who directly assisted with the Forestry Crimes Unit tasks in this investigation.”

Kromm is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Fort Saskatchewan on May 31.

Kromm’s arrest occurred as fire bans were announced across Alberta.

A number of grass fires have sprung up across the province over the past several weeks, in part because of the dry, hot and windy weather.

Smoky Lake is located approximately 115 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

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