0

I am a student learning the Russian language, and today read the following news item on the Russian language Ust-Kut news website, which I've translated:

In Ust-Kut, locals of the Upper Subdistrict caught people who were setting a forest on fire. The people caught turned out to be Ust-Kut District's Vice-Mayor Mikhail Bars, Ust-Kut District's Agriculture Chief Mikhail Tyshkivsky, Mayor's press secretary Ekaterina Anisimova, and Emergency Situations Specialist Ulyanov. The officials had brought gasoline with them and were setting forests on fire, filming the fire from a quadcopter. They had a few days beforehand issued an order prohibiting locals to visit rivers of Ust-Kut District, because forests are susceptible to wildfires these days. We recently reported about that.

It happened 200 kilometers away from Ust-Kut, near the border with the Zhigalovsky District. Tomorrow a task force of police and Investigative Committee will depart to the scene.

The photo and video show Ust-Kut District's Vice-Mayor Mikhail Bars after he was beaten up by the locals.

We will publish more details tomorrow from the scene.

This news has been disseminated by a number of reputable Russian news agencies (e.g., rosbalt.ru, lenta.ru, mk.ru, svoboda.org).

My question: How could Russian authorities be motivated to set forests on fire? What could be in it for them?


UPDATE: As @user2501323 points out, the news was also reported by an official source vesti.ru.