INDIA- A major series of forest fire engulfed area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Tuesday. Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) and Director of SGNP, Anwar Ahmed said that there were several fires reported on Tuesday from Yeoor and Tulsi regions and included parts behind Wagle Estate and even portions in Mira Road.
“A majority of our staff were sent to control the situation and several fires were extinguished or restricted from spreading further by around 9pm. Forest fires are common in the summer,” said Ahmed.
The locals from Mulund west claimed that they had not witnessed such intense forest fire in recent times and the smell of burning wood could be felt till LBS road. Several wildlife activists and residents complained that the forest department and SGNP Control Room numbers were non-functional for a long time. “We began seeing the forest fire around 3 pm in scattered portions behind Johnson&Johnson factory. We called the forest department but they were incommunicado,” said Karan Shah, a resident of Mulund.
Pawan Sharma, Wildlife Warden for Thane affirmed that the fire was surely one of the worst as it seemed to have taken over a large parts of the forest in Tulsi lake range. “The actual intensity of fire was only understood after sunset as large patches of forest could be seen burning in flames, the extent of damage in terms of area of forest cover lost will only be clear in the morning.” Meanwhile fire was also reported from Aarey Milk Colony.