With climate change leading to rise in mercury levels every year, Uttarakhand is prone to forest fires. 46 wildfires have been reported this year. Around 51.34 hectares of forest cover have gutted. Further the forest department has incurred a loss of Rs 1.32 lakh.
The Kumaon region has reported the maximum wildfires, 21 while Garhwal and reserve forest areas reported 16 and 9 instances respectively.
In light of this, netizens are circulating pictures of burning forests to highlight the forest fires in Uttarakhand.
Viral pictures of burning forests are from the forest fires that occurred in Uttarakhand in 2020.
The claim is Misleading.
A reverse image search led to a Facebook post shared on April 28, 2016.
A keyword search led to a news report by The Quint which was published on June, 2016 and carried the same image.
While the date and location of the viral photo could not be ascertained, it is clear that the photo has been on to the internet since 2016. Therefore, it can't have been from the recent forest fire in Uttarakhand.
A reverse search of this viral photo led to an article published by the Columbia Magazine, published by Columbia University.
The article carried this image. It was published in the Winter 2016-17 issue. The name of the photographer mentioned in the article is David McNew. The caption of the photo says that it is from the fire reported near Fawnskin in California.
A keyword search based on this information led to the Getty Image website, where it is mentioned that the photo dates back to September 2007.
"FAWNSKIN, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: The Butler 2 Fire burns through the early morning hours on September 18, 2007 near Fawnskin, California. Earlier today, a single-engine air tanker fighting the fire lost engine power but made but made a successful emergency landing. Two injuries have been reported in the15,433-acre Butler 2 Fire which is only 12 percent contained. Nearly 500 homes in Fawnskin remain under mandatory evacuation orders as the fire advances toward the mountain community on Big Bear Lake. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)," reads the description of the photo.
Therefore this viral photo is definitely not from the recent forest fire in Uttarakhand.
An article published in euttarakhand on 3 May 2016 carried this viral image.
Therefore this image is not from the recent forest fire incident in Uttarakhand.
Further, the state's Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on May 27 that Uttarakhand is not being ravaged by forest fires as recent social media posts are making one believe. Rawat added that old photos of forest fires in the hill state were being repurposed to create a "misleading" impression on social media.
According to him, the incidents of forest fires this year are "way less" than last year.