Climate change-denying social media accounts are exploiting the deadly wildfires in Hawaii to push conspiracy theories that high-energy lasers were used to spark the flames. Posts invoking such technologies or claiming the blazes were set intentionally to create climate-friendly cities have generated millions of engagements on platforms such as X. “Only a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) can cause this kind of destruction,” far-right radio host Stew Peters said in one post on the site, formerly known as Twitter. The narrative’s surge highlights what disinformation experts say is a trend in which conspiracy theorists deny the science of climate change in response to extreme weather events. “Any time there is a climate-related event and advocates call for accelerated climate action, there usually is a corresponding attempt to discredit climate science, disconnect the event from climate change and blame it on something else,” said Arunima Krishna, a Boston University professor who studies climate disinformation. “In this case, directed energy weapons.” X and other sites are littered with posts falsely claiming to show photos and videos of Hawaii being targeted by such systems, which use concentrated electromagnetic energy and are being developed in the United States for drone and missile defense. But the visuals spreading online are unrelated to the fires that killed at least 111 people and leveled the seaside town of Lahaina on Maui. AFP’s fact-checkers have debunked posts that misrepresent shots of a SpaceX rocket launch in California, a flare at an Ohio oil refinery, power lines sparking in Louisiana, a Chinese satellite and a transformer exploding in Chile, among other outdated images circulating in multiple languages.