AUGUSTA — The Maine Forest Service says a Perry man has been charged with five counts of arson in connection with several Down East forest fires.

After several months of intense investigation, 37-year-old Timothy Tiess was charged with setting several small fires in July in remote forested areas in Washington County. The fires reportedly were intended to create large wildfires, but Maine Forest Service and local fire departments were able to control them and restrict them to no more than one-tenth of an acre.

The fires were on private and state-owned forestland.

Arson is punishable by prison terms that could exceed 10 years.

State forest rangers investigated the case with several other state and county agencies. The forest service says Tiess became a primary suspect due to his three prior arson convictions.