FF goes viral for TikTok video debunking wildfire conspiracies

Hawaii-based Firefighter Michael Clark's TikTok tackling misinformation spread on the platform has garnered millions of views


By Laura French

HONOLULU — A Hawaii firefighter has gone viral on the video-sharing platform TikTok for a video debunking wildfire conspiracy theories made by another user. 

Firefighter Michael Clark, who goes by the username wildlandmike on TikTok, "dueted" a video made by another user who suggested that the wildfires in the West were planned events, meaning the conspiracy video played on one part of the screen while Clark responded directly to each claim in his part of the video, according to CNN

Clark debunked theories that the wildfires seemed to stop at the border between Canada and the U.S., noting that a map shown was a database of U.S. fires only, and disputed the user's claim that biohazard signs were found in an area of half-burned trees near Grand Canyon National Park, saying, "That's literally not there. I've worked there."

@wildlandmike

Original duet got taken down... #wildfire#califire#conspiracy

♬ original sound - Michael

Clark's TikTok video quickly went viral, spreading to other social media sites and garnering millions of views. Clark told CNN he responded to the conspiracy video because the user who originally posted it has a verified TikTok account and about 2 million followers, and he was worried about the influence they could have by spreading misinformation to such a large audience. 

The firefighter said people should be sure to check their facts and do their own research when encountering unverified claims about disasters such as wildfires, or the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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