Wildfires are back and could be worse than ever. Just don’t tell the cops manufacturing wild rumors about how they start.
By Kelly Weill, July 14, 2021
On Sept. 11, 2020, the same day the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement dismissing rumors that leftist activists were starting wildfires in Oregon, a sheriff in Washington state sent a very different message to other members of law enforcement.
“One of the methods Antifa is using to start fire’s,is to take a mason jar with tinder placed inside the jar, put it in brush with the lid open, so the hot sun light will create a slow start which allows them to be out of the area before the smoke appears [sic],” Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer wrote in an email to officials throughout the state.
The email, obtained by the government transparency group Property Of The People and reviewed by The Daily Beast, came as wildfires and misinformation swept the Pacific Northwest. Rumors like these, which falsely accused anti-fascists or Black Lives Matter activists of starting the wildfires after a summer of rage over racist police violence, were not without consequence. On at least one occasion, a family was attacked during a camping trip by Washingtonians who wrongly believed their converted camper-bus to be an “antifa” transport vehicle. Songer’s email blasted the bus-owner as “antifa/BLM,” months after their harrowing story made national news.