There are rumors being shared across social media suggesting that Black Lives Matter activists and antifa (treated as synonymous in the rumors) are behind the wildfires in Oregon. The FBI says that it’s not true, and is asking that people stop sharing it, because spreading false rumors makes it harder for first responders to do their job and focus on the actual threat.
It’s not clear exactly where the rumor originated — whether it was with malicious intent, or whether, as some have speculated, people saw “BLM” — for “Bureau of Land Management” — trending, or heard it on the radio, in conjunction with the wildfires, and mistook the acronym for a reference to Black Lives Matter activists, rather than the Federal agency responsible for the land.
For whatever reason, the concerns grew to a sufficient level that the FBI investigated, and determined that the rumors were entirely unfounded. In an official statement, the agency condemned the spread of misinformation.
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. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.
— FBI Portland (@FBIPortland) September 11, 2020
PolitiFact notes that while protestors have set fires in Portland, there is no confirmation of how much connection there is to antifa, or to Black Lives Matter, and no connection whatsoever has been established between those fires in the city, and the wildfires.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com