No, Antifa Is Not Starting the Oregon Wildfires

A number of police forces and sheriff's offices in Oregon are dismissing rumors that antifa are responsible for arson attacks as huge wildfires sweep through the state.

More than 900,000 acres have burned and 500,000 people have been evacuated from their homes as a result of multiple wildfires breaking out across the state amid strong winds and hot, dry conditions.

There have been widespread rumors online that people linked to the far-left movement have been responsible for igniting fires, prompting police to issue statements telling people to stop spreading falsehoods and only get their information from official sources.

In a post on Facebook, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office: said: "Remember when we said rumors make this already difficult incident even harder?

"Rumors spread just like wildfire and 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 in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON.

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

"Do your part, STOP. SPREADING. RUMORS! Follow official sources of information such as local emergency response websites and pages, government websites and pages and local reputable news outlets."

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O'Meara did confirm that they are investigating one blaze as arson after discovering human remains, but dismissed any suggestion that the Almeda Fire—which has destroyed at least 600 homes and burned through more than 3,000 acres of land—was started by antifa.

"One thing I can say is that the rumor it was set by antifa is 100% false information," O'Meara told The Oregonian. "We have some leads, and none of it points in that direction."

The Molalla Police Department posted that "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."

Medford Police also dismissed suggestions that they have arrested members of the far-right group Proud Boys, who have staged a number of violent demonstrations in Oregon down the years, for starting fires.

"This is a made up graphic and story," the department wrote on Facebook while sharing a fake press release featuring a mugshot of a man claiming five Proud Boys members have been detained.

"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."

This is a made up graphic and story. We did not arrest this person for arson, nor anyone affiliated with Antifa or...

Posted by Medford Police on Wednesday, 9 September 2020

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said they have not received any reports of arson in Marion County.

Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps said the state's resources are currently exhausted as they attempt to control the wildfires, forcing them to request assistance from emergency management agencies across the country.

"Our Oregon firefighters and the emergency management community have been fully engaged on these devastating fires, including the many first responders who have been personally affected by the evacuations, power outages and destruction.

"Their efforts, stamina and response are nothing short of heroic," said Phelps.

"We can all do our part to support them by staying informed, being ready to go if evacuation and if you are somewhere safe, staying put."

Oregon
Oregon firefighters work behind caution tape in Mill City, Oregon, on September 10, as they battle the Santiam Fire. KATHRYN ELSESSER/AFP/Getty
No, Antifa Is Not Starting the Oregon Wildfires | U.S.