Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, devastating visuals of forest fire in the state of Uttarakhand have sent social media in a state of panic. Uttarakhand, which is prone to forest fires due to increased temperatures every year, reported 46 instances of wildfire this year.
According to a report published in TOI on May 24, the forest fire has consumed 51.34 hectares of cover thus far since the first incident was reported.
Kumaon region reported the maximum wildfires with 21 incidents while Garhwal and reserve forest areas reported 16 and 9 instances respectively, the report further added.
Destressed about the flora and fauna gutted by fire in the state, netizens tweeted out videos and photos of the wildfires with hashtag #PrayForUttarakhand which soon became the top trending topic on the platform on Wednesday.
Dr Parag Madhukar, Conservator in Forest Department, however, denied any such massive wildfires in the area. In fact, Madhukar informed that the visuals going around on social media showing Uttarakhand engulfed in flames were indeed fake. The video of the same was shared by journalist Gargi Rawat on Twitter.
Dr Parag Madhukar, Conservator, Forest Dept says there are no massive forest fires in Uttarakhand, many old and wrong visuals are being shared on social media. Please be careful. FYI it rained in some parts of the state today #PrayForUttarakhand pic.twitter.com/Pk7yVTKCB2— Gargi Rawat (@GargiRawat) May 27, 2020
Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda had earlier urged netizens to refrain from spreading panic and asked them to stop comparing the "natural phenomenon" of Uttarakhand to the likes of Australian bushfires.
Forest fires are a natural phenomenon that rejuvenates the forest & they happen every year..as per my research, this year #forestfires have been relatively low in #Uttarakhand so far..pls don’t compare them to Australia & the Amazon & spread panic #PrayForUttarakhand #FakeNews pic.twitter.com/F5oHGnit3D — Randeep Hooda (@RandeepHooda) May 27, 2020