Shawnigan Lake RCMP are investigating a totem pole that was set ablaze by a arson at the Malahat lookout this morning.

The call came in at around four this morning, from a motorist that happened to see the flames.

The Malahat Volunteer Fire Department were extinguishing the fire when police arrived at the scene.

Shawnigan Lake RCMP Detachment Commander Sergeant Tim Desaulniers says, “The quick thinking of the passing motorist likely saved not only the totem pole, but also a forest fire. This was a very dangerous act that could have had far-reaching consequences.”

Detachment Commander Sgt Tim Desaulniers says this is likely related to the statue of James Cook that was torn down in Victoria and thrown into the Victoria Harbour.

“Fresh graffiti was also located at the scene,” Sgt Desaulniers says. “Based on what was written, we feel the two incidences are related.”

The words “one totem – one statue,” were spray-painted in graffiti in front of the pole.

Evidence was taken from the scene and police are working with the Vancouver Island Forensic Identification Section hoping to identify a suspect.

Desaulniers says, “We will be working with partners along the Malahat for video and dashcam footage in an effort to identify suspect(s).”

Anyone with information on or may have witnessed this arson is being asked to call the Shawnigan Lake RCMP at 250-743-5514.