Local officials in Oregon say they’ve been “inundated” with callers concerned about antifa and Proud Boy arsonists, the product of a crush of misinformation about devastating wildfires on the West Coast that has proliferated on social media. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department wrote, “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.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook, “We are inundated with questions about things that are FAKE stories. One example is a story circulating that varies about what group is involved as to setting fires and arrests being made.” The Medford Police Department also debunked rumors that five members of the right-wing Proud Boys group had been arrested for arson. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said it could be the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history, and one of several fires plaguing the state has already consumed more than 300,000 acres.