Salome Shonia’s Facebook account published a piece of footage in the social network which shows a wildfire in Turkey. The author indicates that the wildfire is artificially caused by a “laser beam.” The video went viral on Twitter and on TikTok (1,2,3,4,5) as well by foreign-language accounts.

In fact, the beams seen in the footage, according to the author of the video, are a reflection from a window and are not related to the fire. This claim was verified by the Turkish fact-checking organisation, Teyit. The author of the video writes on Twitter that he regrets publishing this because it was used by conspiracy theorists: "This piece of footage belongs to me, I’m on the verge of crying, some people laughed at me and some said it was a laser. I regret that I shared it, this is a shot with a closed window and a reflection which people are saying is a laser but it is the reflection of an anthracite-coloured curtain" reads a statement on Twitter. The owner of the video also later posted another video showing that other pieces of footage taken from the window have similar reflections and that there are no "laser beams" in the sky.

The piece of footage was recorded on 22 August at 16:48 in the Çanakkale region of Turkey and soon went viral. The fire spread from the territory of the village of Kayadere at 12:30 on 22 August. By the time the video was taken, the fire had reached Çanakkale..

The fire in the Çanakkale region was spread from Greek territory where, according to the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, it was started intentionally or due to indifference. Greek authorities arrested 140 people in recent days, including 177 on charges of negligence and 23 on charges of intentionally starting fires. The Greek authorities have linked migrants to the fire but investigations are still in progress.

Therefore, the claim that the published footage shows a fire being caused by "laser beams" is false. According to the author of the video, the beams are just a reflection from a window and are is not related to the fire.

FactCheck has previously verified pieces of disinformation about intentionally sparking wildfires and other natural disasters by “laser beams” or by a “directed-energy weapon” in the past (see articles 1, 2, 3, 4).

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This article was produced as part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.


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