FBI, Oregon officials: No truth to antifa wildfire rumors

Wildfires

Buildings are engulfed in flames as a wildfire ravages the central Oregon town of Talent near Medford late Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Kevin Jantzer via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least three Oregon law enforcement agencies and the FBI are debunking rumors that antifa had a part in starting the Oregon wildfires.

The FBI released a statement on Friday morning, saying “FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue. Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control.”

It’s unclear where the initial rumors started. Antifa, according to the Associated Press, is shorthand for anti-fascists and an umbrella description for far-left-leaning militant groups.

The Molalla Police Department posted on Facebook on Thursday morning, saying “there has been NO antifa in town as of this posting at 02:00 am. Please, folks, stay calm and use common sense. Stay inside or leave the area.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office posted a similar statement, saying “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 in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON.

THIS IS NOT TRUE! Unfortunately, people are spreading this rumor and it is causing problems.”

The Medford Police Department posted Wednesday evening, saying, “This is a made up graphic and story. We did not arrest this person for arson, nor anyone affiliated with Antifa or “Proud Boys” as we’ve heard throughout the day. Also, no confirmed gatherings of Antifa which has also been reported.

Please flag or ignore this post if you see it. Thank you.”

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the mega fires currently burning across the state. While saying some could have been human-caused, that does not mean they were intentionally set.

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