Is it so hot in Montgomery County, Maryland that corn is popping on the stalk in the fields? No, that's not true: a joke tweet from a local fire department was copied by Fox 5 DC and went viral but it was not real.
The claim went viral via a tweet published by @fox5dc on July 20, 2019 (archived here) which read:
"It's so hot corn is popping in Montgomery County https://t.co/EMK1IjYAht"
It's so hot corn is popping in Montgomery County https://t.co/EMK1IjYAht pic.twitter.com/fdlWPk7zDy-- FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) 20 juli 2019
That tweet in turn was based on this one, from the Montgomery County Fire Department:
Just in case you need another reminder of how HOT it is. Keep cool friends! Please take this dangerous #heatwave seriously. https://t.co/I9cPdO3zFR pic.twitter.com/kxvN1PrTzd-- MontgomeryCo(MD)Fire (@mcfrs) 20 juli 2019
The image itself dates back from at least 2016 as this Imgur posting proves:
In a later tweet the firemen explained it was just a joke:
We love corn dogs, unicorns, creamed corn & popcorn. However this pic is not something WE have actually seen - simply a little "it's HOT out there please be safe" humor to remind folks to take heat warnings seriously. Sorry to anyone we may have mislead, confused or made hungry. pic.twitter.com/m4na8QfW5Z-- MontgomeryCo(MD)Fire (@mcfrs) 20 juli 2019
Fox 5 DC was gracious about being fooled by the firefighters:
It's (almost) so hot corn is popping in Montgomery County
UPDATE (3:12 p.m.): Montgomery County firefighters say what many Fox 5 viewers suspected: that the stalk of popcorn photo they shared is a fake. Sick burn, firefighters. We love corn dogs, unicorns, creamed corn & popcorn.
Corn turns to popcorn when the tiny bit of water inside a corn kernel turns to steam and makes the kernel "pop", typically this happens when the water reaches 212 °F. It might be hot in Montgomery County, but not that hot!