Forest fire puts Tirumala temple officials on high alert

Forest fire puts Tirumala temple officials on high alert

19 March 2014

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India — A wildfire that engulfed Tirumala forest ranges has put the state government as well as Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) employees on high alert on Wednesday.

Tirumala is the abode of Lord Venkateshwara worshiped by millions of Hindus.

Over 1,000 persons, including forest staff, fire services and vigilance and security personnel of the TTD, are stated to be engaged in the firefighting exercise.

AP Governor ESL Narasimhan, who is personally monitoring the situation, stated that he had alerted the chief of Air Force and naval authorities and other heads of armed forces regarding the forest fire. He wanted deployment of specially designed two C130 aircraft for chemical spraying to put out the flames.

A large tract of the forest land was stated to have been destroyed in the fire, which was first noticed on Tuesday and continued to spread even though fire tenders were pressed into service.

TTD officials, however, said that there was no threat to visiting pilgrims as the fire moved away from the direction of the temple town further into the forest.

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