A Burnsville man, 53, has been charged with setting a series of fires in and around the city's Vista View Park.

Three grass fires broke out in the park on April 17, and the next day, there were three more fires in and near the park, including the busy area of Burnsville Parkway and Interstate 35W. All were extinguished fairly rapidly.

Witnesses reported seeing a man who was acting strangely in the area where the fires started. Wednesday, Dakota County prosecutors charged Philip M. Labbe with setting at least two of those fires and possessing flammables to set fires.

Court records indicate that Labbe is a suspect in all the fires. After the April 18 fire, Labbe -- who witnesses said smelled strongly of alcohol and was carrying a big lighter typically used to light grills or bonfires -- was arrested in the parking lot of a gas station.

He faces up to five years on each arson charge and a fine of up to $10,000. He also faces up to three years and a $3,000 fine for carrying incendiary devices used to start wildfires. He could be required to pay the costs of fighting the fires.