Const. Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP says the man began about 6:30 a.m. Thursday by lighting a tree on fire outside a local inn and continued along a street, choosing random targets.
Three fires were started under one dwelling, but O'Brien say firefighters put them out before they could cause significant damage.
He say that the man also entered a local business and threatened workers with a knife.
O'Brien says officers arrested the man and are now recommending about a dozen charges related to arson, uttering threats, weapons and mischief.
He says police will be also recommending a psychiatric evaluation for the man who's expected to appear in Nanaimo provincial court on Friday.