Wildfires in Canada are the result of climate change, not arson

By: John Faerseth
June 20 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Wildfires in Canada are the result of climate change, not arson


The Verdict False

The Canadian wildfires are caused by drought and lightning connected to climate change. There is no evidence that they were set intentionally.

Claim ID 0cb9adfc


In a video published on the website Banned Video, Infowars contributor and conspiracy theorist Greg Reese claimed that the wildfires currently sweeping Canada were caused by arson. 

According to Reese, the Canadian government wants to use wildfires as a pretext to set up a national disaster response agency similar to the American FEMA. Reese also suggested that all or some of the arsonists are connected to AntiFa and Extinction Rebellion and claimed that AntiFa activists set fires in the U.S. Northwest in 2020. The video has since been shared on TikTok and Twitter. 

In Fact

There is no evidence that the wildfires in Canada were set intentionally. Canada experiences wildfires yearly, but this year's season has been one of the worst in history. This is connected to climate change making wildfires and other natural disasters more frequent and extreme. Hotter weather brings more lightning strikes, and drier atmospheres lead to less moisture in trees and plants, causing fires to spread more quickly. Michael Norton of the Northern Forestry Centre, speaking at a June 5 press briefing, said, "Wildland fires are inevitable in Canada, but climate change is making the challenge more serious."

During the 2020 wildfires in the American Northwest, rumors circulated, accusing the left-wing “AntiFa” antifascist activists and the right-wing Proud Boys of having set the fire. The FBI’s office in Portland issued a statement explaining that agents had investigated several such reports and found them untrue.

The Canadian government is reportedly considering creating a national emergency management agency in Canada due to the increasing frequency and intensity of emergencies nationwide. 

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a federal agency coordinating disaster preparation, prevention, and relief. It has been the subject of conspiracy theories since at least 1982 when a newsletter from the extreme-right and anti-Semitic group Posse Comitatus warned that American “patriots” would be imprisoned in FEMA detention camps. The conspiracy theory rose in importance during the militia heyday in the 1990s, when it was connected to claims of an impending police state. 

In 2010, former Minnesota governor and conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura spread the theory. The conspiracy gained new popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when it was connected to conspiracy theories about the federal government planning the pandemic to kill "dissidents" or put them in concentration camps owned and operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

The clip also includes a short interview with retired forest technician Peter McIsaac who offered to put together a team of experienced firefighters but was refused by the Nova Scotia provincial authorities. In reality, McIsaac did not accuse the authorities of any conspiracy. 

The Verdict

Officials confirm that the Canadian wildfires were caused by drought and lightning connected to climate change. There is no evidence that they were set intentionally. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before