Forest Fires Ravage Uttarakhand For Over Four Days, Officials Battle Spread of Fake News

Image of a forest fire, reported to be unrelated to the 2020 Uttarakhand fires

News: As many as 46 forest fires have been wreaking havoc in Uttar Pradesh for over four days, affecting 71 hectares of land and risking the lives of hundreds of species there. However, many pictures that have been circulating over social media have been reported to be false and sensationalised.

Here are five components of the story:

  • Two people have lost their lives owing to the wildfires, while one person is reported to be injured due to the wildfire. The estimated losses incurred by the forest department owing to the wildfires has been estimated to be around Rs 1.32 lakh. 21 instances of forest fires have been reported from Kumaon region alone, making it one of the most affected regions in the state. 
  • Parag Madhukar Dhakate, the chief conservator of forests (CCF) for western circle in Uttarakhand said there’s a lot of misinformation, old photos and fake news being circulated on social media. There is a reduction in the fires and rains have helped with dousing the fires.
  • The rising temperatures have swept hot winds all over North India, making it the warmest region in the world on May 26 along with south-east Pakistan, according to a Business Insider report.
  • According to the forest department, the fires broke out near the district of Srinagar on May 23 and were difficult to control because of strong winds.
  • Forest fires are not uncommon in Uttarakhand, which is probably what led to many falling for the recent social media posts. The forest fire season in Uttarakhand ranges from March to May, peaking in April. However, according to a tweet by the IFS Association Uttarakhand, this year’s fires have been far less devastating that in the past.
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