Stop with the Antifa Arson Rumors, FBI Says | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Stop with the Antifa Arson Rumors, FBI Says

Officials are publicly debunking rumors that anti-fascists started Oregon's deadly wildfires. In Deschutes County, Sheriff debunks rumor about someone starting fires. It was vomit, not a fire they found.


Since the advent of Monday's massive fires in Oregon, rumors have flown around, linking a loose group of anti-fascist activists to a rumored coordinated effort to intentionally start the fires. Meanwhile, one arson rumor Friday morning in Deschutes County led deputies to investigate—only to find vomit, not fires, at the reported scene.

This morning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation put out a statement, debunking rumors about Antifa arsonists.
The statement reads:

"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."

In addition, this morning, Oregon's Public Utility Commission issued a statement, saying it was investigating the possibility of downed power lines causing some of the fires currently burning in Oregon.

A map of fires currently burning in the American West. - INCIWEB.ORG
  • A map of fires currently burning in the American West.

This from the Oregon PUC:

"As Oregon continues to prioritize efforts on life safety and fire containment, initial reports from fire managers have linked electric utility power lines to some of the fires burning in Oregon. The PUC regulates investor-owned electric utilities, such as Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. Thirty-eight consumer-owned electric utilities also provide electric service in the state. Downed power lines can be a source of ignition and will be examined in the formal investigations that are yet to come.

"At this point the PUC has no information attributing any specific wildfire to Oregon’s regulated utilities," said PUC Chair Megan Decker. "As with every major fire, full investigations will deliver the facts that we need to determine root causes, including information about whether utility lines were a primary ignition source. Accurate, objectively determined facts are what we need to keep Oregonians safe from rapidly evolving fire threats in a changing climate."

"In addition to reviewing the results of fire investigations conducted by others, which ultimately will determine the cause of each wildfire, the PUC is committed to rapidly incorporating any lessons that may be learned from this unprecedented weather event into our ongoing work on utility wildfire mitigation in preparation for future extreme weather events."

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office debunks arson rumor in Redmond

Meanwhile, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office posted this on its Facebook page this morning, debunking another report of an alleged arson in Redmond: 


"At approximately 8:20 am this morning, deputies were dispatched to a second hand report of a possible arson attempt in the 1200 block of NW 101st Street near Redmond. A witness reported seeing a male attempt to start fire in some grass. Deputies responded and attempted to locate the vehicle, a red Subaru wagon, as it left the scene. They also responded to the incident location to investigate and recover any evidence. The vehicle was never located and the investigation at the scene found only a likely pile of human vomit. No burnt grass or any other evidence of a fire was located. Please continue to follow official sources for accurate information on fire activity in Deschutes County."

So in that case, it was someone puking, not someone starting fires. 

Helpful fire resources:

For those looking for the most up-to-date information on evacuations, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management's interactive database has the most recent information. 

The Central Oregon Fire Information website offers daily updates on fires in the region, and recommends people text "COFIRE" to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed burn text alerts for the area.

The Oregon Wildfire Resources web page lists evacuation centers, road closures and other helpful information.

People can donate and help the evacuees directly at the website for the Red Cross Cascades Region.

Evacuees should register on the Red Cross' Safe and Well website to let family and friends know their whereabouts.  See our earlier fire update from Friday morning here. 

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)

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