Police lay charges after multiple fires set on Siksika Reserve

Gleichen RCMP have arrested and charged a man after a series of fires were intentionally set Thursday on the Siksika Reserve.

Philip John Strange of Langdon, Alta., is charged with arson and trespassing on a reserve.

Witnesses reported seeing a man lighting grass on fire early Thursday morning, police say.

RCMP responded to the complaint of a suspicious person in the area and made an arrest.

‘This past week has been trying on the Siksika people,’ says Sgt. Scott Mercer of the Gleichen RCMP. (Terri Trembath/CBC Calgary)

The fire was contained by the Siksika Fire Department but RCMP say it caused extensive property damage to the Siksika land. This includes areas that are used for traditional ceremonies and offerings.

“This past week has been trying on the Siksika people. These intentional acts of property damage affect the well-being and security of everyone that lives here,” said Sgt. Scott Mercer of the Gleichen RCMP in a release.

Police say the fires set on Siksika land are not tied to the deliberate fires set on Catholic and Anglican churches this week.

They add that no more information will be released as the incident is now before the courts.

Strange was released from custody on his own recognizance after a judicial interim release hearing.

He is set to appear in Siksika Provincial Court on Aug. 12.

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