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Oregon wildfires: False Oregon fire rumours 'inundate' officers
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Oregon wildfires: False Oregon fire rumours 'inundate' officers

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Misinformation about wildfires raging across the US state of Oregon has been rife
on social media, prompting local officials to try to dispel the rumours.


Unsubstantiated online claims blamed the fires on activists from two fringe groups -
antifa, short for "anti-fascist", and the nationalist Proud Boys group. 
Both groups
have been accused by politicians, law enforcement and some commentators of
encouraging and participating in violence during anti-racism protests in the US,
including regular confrontations in Portland, Oregon's largest city.

 

Dozens of posts with bogus wildfire allegations were shared across multiple social
networks - the most popular were shared thousands of times. 
As a result, some
local law enforcement agencies say they have been overwhelmed with requests
based on false information.

 

"Rumors spread just like wildfire," the sheriff's office in southern Oregon's Douglas
County wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

 

"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".

 

The sheriff's office in neighbouring Jackson County also said they were "inundated
with questions" about fake stories and urged members of the public to verify
information and check official sources.

 

"Rumors make the job of protecting the community more difficult," the sheriff's
office said in a Facebook post.

 

Similarly, the police department in the city of Medford in Jackson County took
to social media to debunk a fake screenshot circulated online that uses its logo
and a photo from an unrelated arrest.

 

The false post suggested that five people had been arrested "in connection with
a string of fires".

 

"We did not arrest this person for arson, nor anyone affiliated with Antifa or
'Proud Boys' as we've heard throughout the day," police said, adding that
"no confirmed gatherings of Antifa" had been reported in the area.

 

Journalists suspected

Journalists reporting on the fires outside the town of Molalla, about 30 miles
from Portland, said on Twitter that they had been asked to leave by armed
people concerned by the rumours about arsonists in the area.

 

And a Portland videographer who came to Molalla to take footage of
the blazes said he was reported to the police by locals who thought he and
his partner were antifa arsonists.

 

Fanned by unusually hot, dry winds, dozens of fires have been sweeping
Oregon, on the west coast of the US.

 

At least one of those, the Almeda Fire, which started in Ashland near
the California border, is being treated as suspicious.

 

It has been linked to at least two deaths and destroyed hundreds of
homes.

 

Further details are available here. : slotxo



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