Fact Check: Did Directed Energy Weapons Start the Hawaii Wildfires?
Summary from AllSides News Team
A number of left-rated and center-rated outlets are publishing articles refuting claims circulating online that the Hawaii wildfires were intentionally started by directed energy weapons.
Directed Energy Weapons: Poynter Fact Check (Center bias) reported, “Direct energy weapons are real — such as lasers, radio frequency devices and high-powered microwaves — and the U.S. and other governments are exploring using them for military purposes. But those weapons are not depicted in the Hawaii claim.” The article goes on to determine certain images and videos circulating online are either old, not originating from Hawaii, or some combination of the two. No videos or images circulating have been deemed genuine instances of directed energy weapons. Other outlets, such as USA Today Fact Check (Lean Left bias), Snopes (Left bias), and The Associated Press Fact Check (Lean Left bias), published similar articles refuting various claims regarding directed energy weapons.
What’s Causing the Fires? At a news briefing last Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard, said, “We don't know what actually ignited the fires, but we were made aware in advance by the National Weather Service that we were in a red flag situation — so that's dry conditions for a long time, so the fuel, the trees and everything, was dry.” Hara said these pre-existing factors “set the conditions for the wildfires.”
How the Media Covered It: No fact check articles were found from right-rated sources as of publishing, but the claims are receiving considerable coverage from left-rated sources.
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftNo, This Video Doesn't Show a 'Directed Energy Weapon' Attack on Maui
A conspiracy theory that went viral during the Maui wildfires in August 2023 that devastated parts of the Hawaiian island and killed at least 90 people posited that the fires were purposely started using directed energy weapons ("space lasers," basically), which were also a favorite conspiracist bogeyman during the California wildfires of 2021.
Any number of existing photographs and videos were misrepresented in social media posts as "evidence" that such military weaponry was responsible for these fires, including a video shot five years earlier in Kenner, Louisiana, showing a dramatic series...
From the CenterFact checking a bizarre claim that government ‘direct energy weapons’ caused the Maui fires
Five-year-old images are being shared in social media posts as proof that the government is using “direct energy weapons,” such as lasers, to intentionally start the deadly fires that have recently ravaged Hawaii.
“Pay attention!!!!!!! Not wildfires,” read sticker text on a video shared Aug. 11 on Instagram. The video narrator said the Hawaii fires were caused by a “direct energy weapon assault.”
Hawaii officials said Aug. 10 that they don’t yet know what caused the wildfires that have swept across the island of Maui and killed more than 50 people....
From the LeftImage shows aftermath of SpaceX launch, not weapon starting Hawaii fires
An Aug. 10 Facebook post shows a beam of light connecting the ground and sky, with smoke billowing around it and a body of water in front of it.
“This photo is circulating social media. Apparently, this beam was captured before the Hawaii fires,” the post reads in part. “Can anyone confirm?”
Commenters took it to be presenting a cause for the fires.
"This has ALL the hallmarks of a DEW (directed-energy weapon)," one said.
The post was shared more than 40 times in one day. An Aug. 10 Rumble...