Several posts in social media purporting that the far-left movement, Anti Fascists or Antifa are responsible for the wildfires in Oregon circulated. The posts also claim that several members of the group have been arrested for arson.
However, according to law enforcement officers within the area of the alleged arrests, no such incidents took place. They also noted that calls regarding the matter have flooded their offices affecting the ongoing operations.
One of those who posted the false claims about the arrests was unsuccessful US Senate hopeful, Paul Romero who tweeted that Pallet Company in the city of Oregon has caught the said arsonist from Antifa on camera. He also noted that there are already 6 Antifa members in police custody.
The tweet became widely shared on different social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
In response to the said claims, the Sheriff Office of Douglas County clarified the issue through their Facebook page. The sheriff's office noted that their 911 emergency dispatchers are being bombarded with requests on the false information of the arrests.
Meanwhile, AFP also reported that the Oregon City Police Department's Sergeant David Edwins told the news outlet that they have not received any information about arson done on a pallet company.
Amid the wildfires in Oregon and the West Coast that have killed at least two dozen people, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Portland called out the misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the blazes.
The bureau noted that people should verify their sources and make sure that they are credible in order to not interfere with ongoing investigations. They also noted that based on their investigation, the reports about the arrests of Antifa arsonists are untrue, NPR reported.
Aside from the Pallet Company, another social media post claimed that a Medford police scanner was able to indicate that Antifa members were arrested for starting the fires. Instead of six, the post claimed that seven Antifa members were taken in by the police as noted from the Facebook post.
The report was also tagged as a false claim by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office public information officer, Mike Moran. Jackson County also accounts for Medford.
Moran noted that there is no truth to the stories that claim that anyone from the far-left movement or any other organization was arrested for the forest fires. He also emphasized that the spread of misinformation has become very counterproductive as it gave them more workload with the number of calls coming in.
Medford PD has also noted that no arrests which included anyone from Antifa or "Proud Boys", a far-right movement for causing the wildfires in the state.
Antifa has been a target of several false claims in the past. Some of the claims were that the FBI confirmed that most of its members were teachers, claims that they were plotting to attack suburban neighborhoods or the Gettysburg National Cemetery, and even untrue reports tying them to the attorney general of Minnesota.
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump has also stated that the government will be labeling the group as a terrorist organization but hit several constitutional issues with the matter.