A top-ranking official from Uttarakhand’s Forest Department says images of forest fires widely circulating on social media are mostly not from the state, ThePrint reports.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Jai Raj of Uttarakhand Forest Department tells the media outlet that “Social media is trying to make hype out of it,” and the pictures mostly shared “are of crown fires – when the fire rises up the trees to the top. The photos are not from Uttarakhand,” he explains.
Interestingly, most of the photos circulating on Twitter is painting a far-exaggerated image of the scenario. According to Jai Raj’s explanation, most images show crown fire, whereas, in Uttarakhand the wildfires are still on the ground level. “We only have ground fires – the bushes and grasses are burnt,” he told.
A 2016 image of forest fire in Chir Pine forests near Chitai, Almora District district of Uttarakhand (source: Commons)
The forest fire has so far claimed 81-hectors of land over the last few days, with a total of 41 wildfires reported so far this year. However, this year’s fires are not as severe as last year’s. The state’s growing temperatures make it prone to forest fires.
However, according to the state’s Forest Department, the fires are not remotely as severe as circulated on social media. The Forest Department in a Facebook post clarified the misleading news circulating surrounding the forest fire.
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“It has come to our notice that fake news of forest fire 2020 in Uttarakhand are being circulated on social media platform.”
“After verification of such images it has been found that these images are either old or it belongs to some other places. Few such images are being uploaded by us. It is our request to kindly do not spread fake news. Thank you.”
The fluff on Twitter around Uttarakhand forest fires
Twitter is flooded with images of crown fires whereas in Uttarakhand the fire is yet to elevate from the grass and bush levels. Take a look at some of the tweets below:
The state has just recently announced a surge in coronavirus cases. The zones that were green earlier has become orange lately. COVID-19 cases have been found in all districts, according to ANI.
(Cover image: Forest fire in Chir Pine forests near Chitai, Almora District, Uttarakhand, April 2016. Source: commons)