Amid the raging Maui wildfires in Hawaii, two viral images are being shared on the internet as the "reason" behind the disaster.
What are the users saying?: Internet users have shared these visuals to claim that a "giant laser weapon" triggered the fires in Hawaii.
The claim stems from conspiracy theories about “directed energy weapons”, suggesting that the wildfires are caused by laser weapons and are not naturally-occuring.
How did we find out?: We ran a Google reverse image search and found the following.
We found a tweet on Space X's official X (formerly Twitter) account dated 23 May 2018.
The viral image and the Space X tweet matched.
According to Space.com, the rocket took off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The article also noted that Space X had sent 60 internet satellites into space in 2018.
British news publication Express UK reported on 18 January 2018 when a meteor fell in Michigan, USA.
The report carried the same image as the viral image.
We found a Facebook post by NASA dated 17 January 2018 which confirmed that the fireball noticed by residents was indeed a meteor.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also confirmed the fall of a meteorite on the outskirts of Detroit in January 2018.
Hawaii Wildfire 2023
The wildfires broke out in Maui County in Hawaii on 8 August that has so far claimed 106 lives.
According to BBC, extremely strong winds from Hurricane Dora, passed south of Hawaii and stirred up the flames in the area.
Although the reason behind the wildfire is still not clear, TIME noted that the devastation was caused with a "mix of high temperatures, strong winds from a Category 4 storm near the islands, and drought conditions that dried out grasses on the island."
USA President Joe Biden has declared the calamity a major disaster and released federal funds.
Conclusion: The two images that are being shared as one from the Maui wildfire are unrelated to the calamity. Both images are from 2018 do not show the cause of the wildfire.