Fact Check: Canadian Wildfires Were NOT Set Intentionally But Caused By Drought and Warmer Temperatures

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Canadian Wildfires Were NOT Set Intentionally But Caused By Drought and Warmer Temperatures Unplanned Fire

Was there a deliberate setting of wildfires in Canada as part of a global scheme aimed at convincing the general population about climate change agendas, ultimately leading to people's control and restricting their movement? No, that's not true: The Canadian government said the wildfires this year have been especially widespread and severe because of continued droughts and warmer temperatures.

Lead Stories recently debunked a similar claim by analyzing a video that allegedly showed a Canadian government helicopter deliberately starting a forest fire. The video was presented as evidence to support the allegation that the government was intentionally igniting a dangerous wildfire. While the video was authentic, it depicted a controlled burn conducted by the British Columbia Wildfire Services (BCWS) in June 2023. An agency spokesperson confirmed to Lead Stories that such planned ignitions ensure the safety of firefighting crews and "remove the majority of available fuel ahead of the wildfire" so there is less combustible material to burn.

Politifact also dismissed the claim, saying there "have been no reports the wildfires in Canada were set intentionally."

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) posted on TikTok on June 8, 2023, under the title "Setting Forests Ablaze Intentionally."

The 38-second video showed a helicopter setting fire to a forested area, to the song "Fire on Fire" by singer and songwriter Sam Smith.

Lead Stories translated the caption in Arabic that appeared throughout the video as follows:

Burning forests in America, Canada and several European nations has already begun. Orders will soon come to Arab governments to set their own forests ablaze to persuade the people of climate change (agendas) and impose restrictions on movement and using vehicles.

The caption maintained:

This is a step towards banning vehicles that operate on fuel and on eating meat, then obtruding electric vehicles, digital identification and currency to completely control the people.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Canada wildfires.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Jun 12 11:55:23 2023 UTC)

According to a Newsweek report, environmental experts and federal agencies have claimed that the extensive fires and resulting smoke in both Canada and the United States were primarily caused by warm and dry conditions that worsened Canada's wildfire season. Typically running from May to October, these conditions exacerbated the situation. But it pointed out that the extreme weather has "sparked conspiracy theories that the fires were started by climate change advocates who are using the unhealthy air to push for legislative change."

USA Today asserted in a fact-check report that the planned ignitions were to mitigate the wildfires in Canada. It quoted British Columbia Wildfire Service Information Officer Jean Strong as saying that the ignitions were an "essential and effective" technique used by firefighters to slow down and limit the spread of large wildfires.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, there are 436 active fires as of June 11, 2023, which brought the total year-to-date fires to 4,288 and burned an area of 4.8 million hectares.

  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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