There are countless strange conspiracies theories swirling about the government and shadowy organizations lurking out in the gloom past what we usually see. Everything from mind control, to hidden spaceships, to weird government experiments, and much, much more, the field of conspiracy theories is a minefield. One of the more bizarre and pervasive of these in recent times has been the idea that the government, Illuminati, whatever you want to call "them," is using advanced weaponry to cause forest fires around California.

On December 4, 2017, a blaze ignited near the city of Santa Paula, in Ventura, California, and while normally it might not have been the tragedy it was to become, aided by record Santa Ana winds the fire proved to be extremely fast. In an alarmingly short amount of time the fire exploded outward, expanding out of control to engulf large swaths of both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties while creating other offshoot blazes along the way. The hungry fire and its spawn were well fed with the dry brush of the rugged mountain terrain, and it was all was soon a hulking beast of a fire the likes of which no one had ever seen. By the time what would collectively be called The Charles Fire was finally contained on January 12, 2018, it had devastated approximately 281,893 acres, forced over 100, 000 people to evacuate, and had caused immeasurable destruction of property and agriculture, vast economic damage, and dozens of tragic deaths. It was the largest wildfire in modern California history, even generating its own weather, and at one point fought by an army of over 8,500 firefighters, the largest mobilization in history, who fought battles with multiple fires on many fronts.

In the wake of the Charles Fire, authorities began a full investigation into how the fire had started and spread, but as this was going on there were some strange conspiracies brewing. One was that it was terrorists or drug cartels from Mexico or South America trying to destroy the region’s extensive marijuana farms, and another was that it was due to the Illuminati, but although eyebrow raising these pale in comparison to another insidious conspiracy that began doing the rounds on the Internet and sites such as YouTube. People began talking about how the fires had not only been intentionally started, but that they had been started by the U.S. government using giant lasers from outer space. Wait, what?

The idea is that the fires had been deliberately started by weapons called “directed energy weapons” (DEW), basically giant laser beams, which had been mounted on either planes or satellites to be fired upon the area. Why would the government do this? Well, according to the conspiracy theorists there are several possible reasons. One is that it was a show of force, while another is that it could have been done as a media distraction to keep eyes off of something else going down. Yet another idea is that it was done to clear people out of the area for some nefarious purpose, or according to one theory as a way to make room for a high-speed rail system. Even the conspiracy theorists can’t even really agree as to the whys of it all, with many picking whatever version fits their own agenda, but the ones who began spreading these stories and theories also come armed with what they claim to be “evidence.”

The main form this evidence comes in is from many alleged witnesses and firefighters who supposedly claimed that the fire did not behave or burn things in a normal way. It was noticed that in some areas only human structures seemed to have suffered the wrath of the blaze, while the surrounding trees, vegetation, and even other buildings were untouched. The conspiracy crowd speculates that this could only have been through the use of actual targeted, directed laser attacks on the buildings themselves, and one conspiracy theorist by the name of Matt Procella has said of this:

You’ll notice here that stores and restaurants are wiped out, while other things are still in perfect shape. Other buildings are fine, trees are untouched, but specific structures are just devastated. You gotta ask yourself, what’s up with that ... Is this the result of direct energy weapons? Ranged weapons that inflict damage on a target by emitting highly-focused energy? The answer is most likely yes.

The idea of attack lasers being at work soon expanded to be applied for other wildfires that occurred in 2017 and 2018 throughout California, and making it even weirder still were people who came forward with stories that they had actually seen blue beams shooting down from the sky before fires broke out, further fueled by eerie photos or videos of these beams that began making the rounds. Proper fire authorities speculated that the fire and others like it had actually likely been caused by downed power lines, but of course not everyone bought this.

Although these conspiracy theories have flourished online, there are some rather good skeptical points to be made here. For one, there is very little evidence put forward for the giant laser angle. Some usually unnamed and unverified witnesses, as well as some photographic and video evidence that is inconclusive at best and obviously photoshopped at worst. Even if there really are these mysterious unburned areas, it could be attributable to moisture in the vegetation or the rather unpredictable winds at the time. However, most damning of all is that, although they look really awesome and powerful in science fiction films, it turns out that in real life lasers are not nearly as destructive and almighty as we have been led to believe by fiction. In reality we are woefully behind in any breakthroughs for super-powerful lasers, and they are decidedly worse at blowing stuff up than was once thought. The fact is, we seem to be a long way from producing a laser of this magnitude, making it less plausible that there is someone going around strafing whole areas with them. But then again, it’s the government, so there are plenty of people who say that the technology does exist, but is top secret. What is going on here? Is there any truth to this at all or is it just looney conspiracy nonsense for some agenda or other? Who knows, but it is definitely eye-opening, and another weird conspiracy theory to add to the pile.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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