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Fact Check: old pictures viral on social media to show massive fire in Uttarakhand forests

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The viral pictures of wildfire in the state of Uttrakhand are old and from the different parts of the country and the globe.

For the past few days, news reports of massive wildfires ravaging through the forests of Uttarakhand have sent Indians into a state of panic. According to the news report published by TOI,  "with rising Mercury levels, Uttarakhand's forest fire season has now reached its peak. The state, so far, has reported 46 wildfire incidences. In these wildfires around 51.34 hectares of forest cover has gutted".

Many pictures are going viral on social media depicting the current situation of wildfire in the state.

A twitter user name Arushi Nishank shares a 2 sets of pictures claiming that "It's a moment of utter grief for the entire nation as our devbhoomi Uttarakhand faces the forest fire crisis, and the wildlife specifies that reside in the forest are in grave danger. Please #PrayForUttarakhand that this catastrophy stops with no more loss of our flora & fauna."

The viral post received 464 likes and 208 retweets at the time of writing this article.

Fact Check 

In our investigation, we found that the viral images of Uttrakhand Forest Fires is an old image of Forest fire from the different parts of the country and world.

First Picture

After doing reverse research of the image we found a news article published on May 2, 2016, in which the same picture was used. 

Second Picture

We found a news report, in which the same picture had been used in a study produced in Columbia Magazine about how climate change had fuelled forest fires in the United States. According to the caption, the photo depicts wildfire in California. The study was conducted in the winter session of 2016-17.

Another twitter user name Hasiba Amin shared few pictures with a caption "Thoughts and Prayers. May you heal soon, Uttarakhand. This is heartbreaking. #PrayForUttarakhand"

However, with the help of reverse image search, we found that the picture which she has shared as from Pauri, Uttarakhand is an old picture. The same picture was used in an article by Gulf Today dated 14th May 2019.

The chief minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, also tweeted on May 27, saying that people should not run fake campaigns around forest fires.

A video posted on Twitter also shows Dr. Parag Madhukar, an official with the forest department, who says that there are no major fires in Uttarakhand and that there is no reason to panic. According to him "There are no massive forest fires in Uttarakhand. Some videos and picture doing rounds on social media from South India and other parts of the globe. people have created their own collage of pictures on social media. Yesterday, there was rainfall in Garhwal Himalayas and other parts of the state. Also, there are fire drills is going on so I would like to clarify that there is a no major fire in the forest here. some pictures are from 2016".

In conclusion, the viral pictures of wildfire in the state of Uttrakhand are old and from the different parts of the country and the globe.

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