Old Images Used to Show Massive Fire in Uttarakhand Forests
We found out that some pictures were old and many were not even from India.
Several images are being circulated on social media showing devastating visuals of Uttarakhand forest fire that broke out on Saturday, 23 May.
The images claim to show the massive fire in the jungles of Uttarakhand. However, we found that a lot of these pictures are old.
Let’s debunk the visuals one by one:
On a conducting a Google reverse image search, we found an ABP article published that had published the image in April 2016 with the headline: “Forest fires rage across Uttarakhand, 6 die since February”. The image was credited to Anup Sah photography.
We, then, searched the Facebook profile of Anup Sah and found that the photographer, had, indeed uploaded the image on 28 April 2016.
The Quint, too had published an article in 2016 in which the viral image was used.
A Google reverse search led us to an article published in euttarakhand on 3 May 2016 on the possible reasons behind the Uttarakhand forest fire.
We also found that the same image was uploaded on Alpha Coders, a website that offers wallpapers. While we could trace the image back to 2016, we have not been able to independently verify the origin of the image.
We found that the second image shown in the tweet, which was uploaded by Getty Images, dates back to September 2007 and has been credited to photographer David McNew.
The image was taken on 18 September 2007 when fire was reported near Fawnskin in California.
While the first two images have already been debunked, the third image is also old. NDTV had published an article in May 2016 which carried the image in question. The article is titled as: “In Uttarakhand, Rain Brings Much-Needed Respite and Hopes of Business.”
The fourth image is also old and is from California.
A Google reverse image search showed us that the last image seen in the aforementioned tweet is from California and was taken in 2013. The image was uploaded on NASA’s website and the caption along with it reads: “The 2013 Rim fire in and near Yosemite National Park, California, was the third largest in the state's history, burning more than 250,000 acres. Almost two years later, forest restoration efforts are still ongoing.”
The image has been credited to Mike McMillan, United States Forest Service.
AUTHORITIES MENTION IMAGES ARE OLD, NO MASSIVE FIRE IN THE STATE
The official handle of Uttarakhand Forest Department also took to Twitter to state that images in circulation are “fake.”
Further, Jai Raj, Uttarakhand principal chief conservator of forest on Wednesday, 27 May, told news agency ANI that such fires where entire trees burn, take place in Canada, US, and Australia.
“Such fires do not occur in Uttarakhand. Here, forest fires remain confined to the ground, affecting grass and bushes. In monsoon, everything goes back to normal. So far, fire has affected 111 hectares, causing a loss of Rs 3 Lakh. We will file a police complaint against such rumours,” he added.
Meanwhile, Journalist Gargi Rawat shared the video of Dr Parag Madhukar, conservator, forest department, who too said that no massive fire has been reported in Uttarakhand forests.l
While the state of Uttarakhand is under the realm of forest fires, however, neither the images in circulation show the present situation nor any massive fire has been reported.
(Update: The story has been updated with the reaction of Jai Raj, Uttarakhand principal chief conservator of forest.)
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