Some of the most outstanding and spectacular UFO encounters are those that leave behind some physical evidence or trace. This can take many forms, but typically it is very intriguing in that we have something left behind to remind us of their presence. This can sometimes be taken to extremes, and while UFOs mostly don't cause a lot of damage there are those cases in which they cause chaos and collateral damage. Here we will look at some rare cases of when UFOs have, either intentionally or not, left behind devastation in the form of fire.
One of the stranger cases of a UFO connected to a fire comes to us from the country of South Africa. In September of 1965, two police constables by the names of John Lockem and Koos de Klerek were on patrol along the Pretoria-Bronkhorstspruit highway, and that evening started out as just a normal, mundane shift for them. As the lane lines flickered by in the night and the evening danced by, they were ready for this to be just another uneventful shift, but that would soon change. At around midnight, their quiet daydreaming was interrupted by something very odd blooming into the headlights from the murky gloom ahead. The startled two constables caught sight of some sort of metallic object that they at first took to be some vehicle stopped on the road, but it very quickly became apparent that this was no normal car or truck.
The thing in the road appeared to be a copper-colored, domed, disc-shaped object about 30 feet in diameter, and as they approached it at first just sat there silently. After a few seconds, before the two men could even really process what they were seeing or what was going on, the disc suddenly launched up at great velocity into the air, while copious jets of flame erupted from beneath it to light up the night. It looked as if the fire was spouting from two tubes underneath the craft, with the flames actually bouncing about three feet up in the air from the asphalt, and the heat was so intense that the highway purportedly actually caught fire and the officers were unable to get closer. This fire apparently went on for some time before it subsided enough for the two policemen to approach, and they found that the asphalt had actually melted, and that there was a caved in portion where something very heavy had been. The scorched area was reportedly around 6 feet in diameter, and the heat had been so formidable that the gravel had actually separated from the tar.
According to UFO researcher John Hall, the two constables reported the incident, but it was sort of brushed under the carpet by the government, with a Lt. Col. J.B. Brits, District Commandant of Pretoria North, saying the event was “of a highly secret nature and an inquiry is being conducted in top circles,” and that was that. There has been no other word on it since, and it was only briefly covered in an article for the Associated Press, Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1965 and later in English by NICAP in 1969. Adding to the mystery of it all is that there were supposedly samples taken from the site that were sent off to be analyzed, but results have never been forthcoming and nothing more has been released to the public.
At least in this case the fire left behind by the object was contained, but this doesn’t seem to always be the case. One Reddit user called “Echatoner” claims to be a firefighter working in Utah, and one call he got would be something he would never forget. He claims that he was called to a wildfire just south of Dugway Proving Grounds and as he and his crew sped off towards the emergency with a convoy of four trucks, they saw a formation of eight black military helicopters that fell in with them as if they were escorting them. This went on for about 10 miles before the helicopters veered away to fly off, and things would only get stranger from there. The witness says:
A little while later we are parked and about to start hiking to the fire line when suddenly a thin column of smoke shoots probably about two hundred feet into the sky, it was a good mile away but the concussion was pretty significant when it hit us and the noise was still ridiculously loud. We thought it was probably no big deal, we knew we were near a strike zone. A good five minutes later an aircraft like nothing I have ever seen flew by us at maybe five hundred feet. It was flat black and sort of rectangular but with fins and wells on the underside. It was moving pretty slow and was dead silent so I have to assume it was some sort of stealth glider. It sounds ridiculous but it immediately reminded me of a huge, flying bat mobile, Time Burton era.
After that some military personnel got on our radio frequency and instructed us to leave the area immediately, when our crew chief asked who it was and why they signed off and the Incident Commander (the guy in charge of managing the entire situation) came on the radios and said we were evacuating the area. They sent us to a completely different fire about a hundred miles to the south and never told us why except that it was higher priority which was bullshit, it was already out when we got there and we just assisted crews in the mop up operation. The thing that confuses me about this is that if the army didn’t want us to see that shit or if it was dangerous why didn’t they keep us clear of the area in the first place? Either a communications breakdown or they had a now shit situation going down and had to get us out of there without warning.
The witness came away with the impression that the strange craft he had seen had caused the fire and riled up the military, but beyond that it is all a mystery. Was this a UFO, some experimental aircraft, or what? What connection did it have to the fire? We will probably never know. In 2019 there was a massive wildfire at Katon-Karagay national park, in East Kazakhstan, which quickly enveloped an estimated 82.2 hectares of wilderness, and before long there were rumors that the blaze had been caused by a UFO. One Vladimir Sanarov, inspector of flying-industrial service KazAviaForestGuard, would say of this:
According to the witnesses who saw this falling unidentified flying object and filmed in on the phone cam, an object fell from the sky and caused fire. Firefighters didn't manage to put it out immediately as the locality is difficult to approach, it took three days to extinguish the fire. Liquidation works are underway. The main task is to prevent repeated fire.
One of the main theories is that this was all due to a rocket stage falling to earth, but considering that there doesn’t seem to be much further information on this we are left to speculate. A similar incident that also went down in 2019 comes to us from the Chilean port city of Dalcahue on the island of Chiloé. On September 25, 2019, reports began to come in from frightened residents who claimed to have witnessed strange a red ball glowing in the sky, and many of these local witnesses insisted that the object was causing fires. Some even claimed that they had seen the object faltering and crashing into the wilderness. At least six wildfires broke out in the region during this flurry of UFO reports, and firefighters on the scene described how the areas were permeated by a strange smell and smoke that was “not smoke from material but rather from stone, like Sulphur.” Alejandro Verges, Director of Chile’s National Office of Emergencies of the Interior Ministry (ONEMI), made a statement, saying:
The fires are attributable to an object that, so far, has not been identified. There cannot be six sources of fire in a radius of 200 meters and all of them isolated. It’s like if small balls of fire have fallen. Some burnt the roots and others burned a little more. It is very strange.
The main idea at the time was that the fires and sightings had been caused by a meteorite or space debris, but no sign of either of these were turned up. In fact, a follow up investigation carried out by Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining led them to rule out the possibility that this had been caused by a disintegrating meteorite after not a shred of space rock was turned up at any of the fire sites. Searches also didn’t turn up any signs of metal that could have been from a fallen satellite or other space junk, and the Chilean fires and the UFO reports surrounding them have remained mysterious.
Perhaps one of the most well-known incidents involving mysterious fires and talk of UFOs occurred between 2003 and 2005, in the area of Canneto di Caronia, Siciliy, in Italy. It started in December of 2003, when a local resident reported that his television had inexplicably sparked and exploded, followed by various unexplained fires spontaneously erupting throughout the home at all hours. Before long, other residents of the area were reporting the same thing, with cars, mattresses, beds, furniture, fuse boxes, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, computers, and even wedding presents bursting into flame for no discernible reason, all confined to one delineated area. Some of these fires would start in the same place over and over again, and at least one witness said that his TV had caught fire on five separate occasions. In more serious cases, entire homes were burned to the ground by the mystery blazes, and these fires continued even after the utilities company cut power to the neighborhood. From January to March of 2004 a total of 92 fires were reported, and in none of the cases were officials able to find a rational cause. It was causing a panic, and 39 residents would be evacuated from the area during the scare, all fueled by strange reports of the flames acting oddly, appearing to move almost with purpose or jump place to place.
In the meantime, an interdisciplinary research group coordinated by Francesco Venerando Mantegna from the Sicilian Protezione Civile, reportedly found evidence of unusual electromagnetic activity in places where the fires had broken out, as well as strange reports of unexplained lights in the sky and a helicopter that experienced allegedly anomalous rotor damage. This soon had frightened locals whispering rumors of the fires being caused by ghosts, witches, demons, secret U.S. military tests of radiation weapons or “Tesla technology,” and of course UFOs, only further fueled by sightings of strange lights in the sky at the same time the fires were going on. The mayor of the town explained it as the result of “unknown electromagnetic radiation,” and one government report supposedly read that the blazes were “caused by a high power electromagnetic emissions which were not man-made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts,” but no one knew for sure. One ufologist by the name of Nigel Watson would say of the fires and their connection to possible alien forces:
Spontaneous combustion of electrical appliances or interference with them is often associated with UFO sightings. There are literally hundreds of cases of cars stalling and their electrical systems being messed up in the presence of UFOs.’ In the town of Caronia, northern Sicily, there was a spate of appliances, machines, mattresses and electrical wiring suddenly bursting into flame. Geophysicists and electrical experts were puzzled by this phenomenon, but the villagers noted that this was an area that was suffering from a high concentration of UFO sightings.
What was going on here? It was eventually thought to be the work of arsonists, but no one was ever arrested and fire authorities never were able to explain how the fires had started. Curiously, the phenomenon would return to the area in 2014, and this time an arsonist named Giuseppe Pezzino was arrested, but it is unknown what connection this has to the 2003-2005 mystery fires. What happened at Canneto di Caronia? It is uncertain just how true any of these cases are, or if UFOs really were involved or not, but they serve to make us think, and show us that not all supposed alien encounters are of the benevolent variety. What was going on here? Who knows? They will likely never be solved for sure, and they serve to add more to the lore of this very strange phenomenon.