By: Emmi Kivi
August 18 2023
The Hawaii Governor compared the wildfire destruction in Lahaina to the aftermath of an explosion and did not state that a bomb had actually gone off.
A video of Eric Moutsos claiming a conspiracy of coordinated action behind the Hawaii (spelled Hawai'i by locals) wildfires has gone viral on social media. Moutsos shared a video of a news conference by the Hawaii Governor, Josh Green, saying that “it does appear like a bomb and fire went off” in the Maui town Lahaina.
Moutsos is known to peddle QAnon conspiracies and propagate false claims about global warming, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this video, Moutsos also suggests a conspiracy of coordinated action is behind the Hawaii wildfires based on the Governor’s comments on coordination between the state and federal agencies in the U.S.
The Governor of Hawaii's comments are from a news conference held on August 10, which aimed to provide updates on the damage, rescue, and recovery efforts in response to the Maui wildfires.
Logically Facts examined the original video from the news conference and found that the Hawaii Governor’s responses to reporters were edited out of context to support erroneous claims about the origins of Maui wildfires. After visiting Lahaina, Green used an expression to say that the destruction in Lahaina looked like a bomb had gone off, not that a bomb had been detonated in Maui.
The hour-long news conference is accessible on the Hawaii Office of Governor’s Facebook page. In addition to damage and recovery assessments by county, state and federal officials, the news conference included a Q&A session with reporters.
At the 30:35 timestamp, the Hawaii Governor was asked by a Honolulu Civil Beat reporter about the cost and duration of repair and recovery of Lahaina. Green answered that “It is going to take many years to rebuild Lahaina; when you see the full extent of the destruction of Lahaina, it will shock you” and continued, “It does appear like a bomb and fire went off,” after earlier in the news conference informing the assessment visit to Lahaina during the day.
Governor Green does discuss coordinated action during the news conference, referring to coordinated rescue and recovery efforts of local, state and federal officials. From the 06:45 timestamp, Green informs about Biden's Presidential Disaster Declaration, which allows for additional federal aid to local recovery resources and makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Maui.
According to the White House website, the Biden-Harris Administration has initiated a comprehensive governmental response involving multiple federal agencies, state and local actors to address the Hawaii wildfires.
No evidence supports the claim that the Hawaii wildfires were caused by coordinated action.
The Governor of Hawaii's comments were edited out of context to support conspiracies on the causes of the Hawaii wildfires. In the original news conference, Governor Green said that the destruction in Lahaina looked like a bomb had gone off, not that an actual bomb had detonated. Green also informs of the U.S. authorities' cross-governmental response and rescue efforts which happened after, not before, the Hawaii wildfires. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.