Fact Check: Clip Does NOT Show 'Green Laser ... Directed Energy Weapon' Igniting Texas 2024 Wildfire -- Fake and Outdated Video

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Clip Does NOT Show 'Green Laser ... Directed Energy Weapon' Igniting Texas 2024 Wildfire -- Fake and Outdated Video Old Video

Does a viral video of a "green laser" authentically show a beam igniting a Texas wildfire that started in late February 2024? No, that's not true: The clip was posted two months before the blaze. It was first published in a social media account of a person describing themselves as a "video creator" who made no references to Texas or wildfires.

The story appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram where it was published on March 3, 2024. The inscription above the shared video opened:

Left: green laser captured on video during

a "storm" from Texas. Many are saying

could be "Directed Energy Weapons".

Right: One MILLION acres have burned in

Texas & 1000+ homes destroyed which is

now the largest blaze in state history 🇺🇸

Could these two events be related?

The caption contained multiple tags referring to conspiracy theories:

Could it be?

Follow @truthaboutfluoride if you're not a 🐑

#conspiracy #conspiracytheories #conspiracytheory #trump2024 #joebidensucks #democratssuck #greatreset #worldeconomicforum #klausschwab

This is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-03-04 at 10.35.01 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Mar 4 15:35:01 2024 UTC)

The left side of the clip contained what looked like low-quality, rather jumpy footage of a two-story brick building surrounded by trees near what appeared to be a two-lane residential road with a pedestrian pathway at the curb. In between moments when the screen went dark, an emerald-green beam appeared in the background.

This video, however, first went online on December 31, 2023, predating the 2024 Texas wildfires roughly by two months:

Screen Shot 2024-03-04 at 10.36.50 AM Copy2.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Mar 4 15:36:50 2024 UTC)

As seen in the screenshot above, the original caption did not say anything about Texas or any other particular locality and did not bring up wildfires.

The account on Instagram that initially posted the video, @antoniotheleo ("Antonio Williams"), described itself as a "video creator." This person explicitly asked people to pay to see "more epic videos in the future":

Screen Shot 2024-03-04 at 12.28.04 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Mar 4 17:28:04 2024 UTC)

Previously, Lead Stories debunked another claim that reused a different video published by the same "video creator."

In August and September 2023, similar baseless claims linking a "directed energy weapon" to wildfires in a different locality (Hawaii's island of Maui) had gone viral, too. Lead Stories debunked some of them here.

The wildfire that, as of this writing, continues to affect northeastern parts of Texas started on February 26, 2024, one mile north of Stinnett, TX, as the official incident overview says.

As reported by Reuters (archived here) and the Texas Tribune (archived here), some homeowners took legal action suspecting that a downed power line could have started the wildfire, but that hasn't been confirmed as of this writing.

As of March 4, 2024, the cause of the blaze is still being investigated. Texas A&M Forest Service (archived here), the state agency tasked with the protection of "the resources and lands of the Lone Star State," confirmed it to Lead Stories via email on that day.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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