New front in fight against Australian bushfires…fake news

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Australia’s bushfire crisis has led to what appears to be a deliberate misinformation campaign started by climate-change deniers claiming arson is the primary cause of the ongoing fires, despite months of drought and record high temperatures.

Social media accounts, including Donald Trump Jr’s Twitter account, circulated the false claim that 183 people had been arrested for arson during the Australian fire crisis – one published in an Australian newspaper.

Seemingly adding weight to the claim, New South Wales police recently said they have taken action against 183 people for “bushfire-related offences” since 8 November last year.

However, only 24 of those people have been charged with allegedly lighting fires deliberately.

Forty-seven have been charged for discarding a lit cigarette or match on land and 53 for failing to comply with a total fire ban.

Climate change has been a divisive topic, with leading politicians dismissing it as a factor in this season’s record blazes.

One image shared widely by Twitter users, including by singer Rihanna, was interpreted as a map showing the live extent of fire spread, with large sections of the Australian coastline molten-red and fiery. But it is actually artist Anthony Hearsey’s visualisation of one month of data of locations where fire was detected, collected by Nasa’s Fire Information for Resource Management System.

Read more via The Telegraph/ BBC

Once you're here...