Extremists aren’t responsible for the Oregon wildfires, the FBI said.
The FBI said Friday that local law enforcement agencies have been overrun by reports that “extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon.”
Not so, the FBI says.
“The FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue,” the FBI said in a news release. “Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control.”
False rumors that Antifa had started the fires quickly spread, according to The Oregonian.
“Some mainstream conservative pundits and a major police trade publication, as well as conspiracy theorists aligned with QAnon, have all promoted the false narrative,” the newspaper reported.
Officials were calling on the public to trust information from official sources about the wildfires, CNN reported.
Dispatchers were “being overrun” with calls about the conspiracy theories.
“Rumors spread just like wildfire,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office warned in a Facebook post Thursday. “Now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires.”
An estimated 500,000 residents “are under an evacuation warning or order” in Oregon as of Thursday, which is more than 10% of the state’s population, according to The Washington Post. Nearly 900,000 acres have burned and at least three people have been killed, according to The Oregonian.
“It could be the greatest loss of human life and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday, according to McClatchy News.