For four days a forest fire in Uttarakhand & the heatwave in north India has made things worse. According to the forest department, a forest fire first started in Srinagar district on May 23 and it was difficult to control the fires due to winds. However, the authorities have clarified that the situation is under control. Since the start of the year, Uttarakhand has 46 wildfires which have affected over 51.34 hectares of forest land within the state. It has been affecting the wildlife species residing within the forests. Because of the super hot winds in the region, animals are struggling hard to stay alive as sources of water dry up.
The Kumaon region has almost 21 incidents of forest fires & the Garhwal region has witnessed 16 incidents of forest fires. The estimated loss incurred by the forest department due to the wildfires is around Rs 1.32 lakh. Two people have lost their lives due to the wildfires. One person has sustained injuries while trying to escape wildfires.
Fake Photos of Uttarakhand Forest Fire shared on social media
The Uttarakhand forest fire is tragic but people on social media have been exaggerating the whole incident. Many social media users have been posting pictures of previous forest fires in Uttarakhand. While some have even posted images from the Australian bushfire. Many of these claims are fake or untrue. These pictures are from older incidents such as from 2016 and even from forest fires in other countries.
According to the chief conservator of forests (CCF) Parag Madhukar Dhakate, there’s a lot of misinformation, old photos, and fake news on social media. There is a reduction in fire & its been raining every few days so there is moisture & lesser incidents of forest fires.
The Uttarakhand Forest Department tweeted, “Fake news of forest fire 2020 in Uttarakhand are being circulated on social media. After verification of such images, it has been found that these images are fake. Few such images are being uploaded by us. It is our request to kindly do not spread fake news.”
Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda also tweeted about the incident asking people to not compare the wildfire to Australia & Amazon as it can spread panic. He also compared the forest fire statistics of the year 2019 and 2020.
According to the government, this may not be the worst year for wildfires because rain and high moisture levels have helped in preventing such incidents.
Uttarakhand has 401 confirmed cases of coronavirus, of which 4 patients have died and 64 have recovered.