FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Deer During The California Wildfires?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared nearly 300 times purportedly shows a stag during the recent California wildfires.

Verdict: False

The image has been circulating online since at least 2018, long before this season’s wildfires. It appears to be a piece of digital artwork.

Fact Check:

The image shows a male deer or elk standing on a rocky peak with the sun between its antlers. Multiple Facebook users have in recent weeks shared the picture with captions claiming it shows, “An Epic Scene From The California Fires.”

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the image has been circulating online since at least February 2018. Diego Hernandez, a Mexico-based digital artist, posted the image on his secondary Instagram account Feb. 15, 2018 under the name of Diego Pérez.

Hernandez posted the image of the stag on his primary Instagram on Feb. 26 the same year, saying that he originally posted it on his secondary account “because the style is different to what I usually do.” He wrote that he thinks “this is one of the best edits I’ve done.” (RELATED: Viral Post Claims There Are No Wildfires In Canada or Mexico)

 

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Wow this picture are killing it! I originally posted it on my second account @diegostevnson because the style is different to what I usually do, but wow got over 100 features in a week ???????? I think this is one of the best edits I’ve done and deserves to be here! ???????? ——————————————– • • • • Check the link in my bio to purchase this print ???? • #expofilm #nakedplanet #agameoftones #theglobewanderer #ourmoodydays #welivetoexplore #randommagazines #wildlifeplanet #earthpix #earthfocus #beautifuldestinations #moodygrams #eclectic_shotz #fantastic_earth #welivetoexplore #artshub #enter_imagination #shotzdelight #artofvisuals #visualsoflife #wonderful_places #watchthisinstagood #ps_wild #folksouls #visualambassadors #ig_color #ourcolourdays #milliondollarvisuals

A post shared by Diego Hernandez (@j.diegoph) on

The image is available for sale on the website Big Wall Decor under the title “Morning Glory” and credited to Hernandez. Reverse image search results also show that this image was at one point available via Shutterstock, an American stock photo company.

Because the image has been circulating since at least 2018, it is impossible for it to be connected to the ongoing California wildfires. Cal Fire reports 27 major wildfires are burning in California as of Sept. 27. Since Aug. 15, there have been “26 fatalities and over 7,000 structures destroyed,” according to the state’s fire fighting agency.

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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