With the forest fire engulfing the wide stretch of Seshachala ranges, TTD plunged into fire fighting mechanism under the instructions of TTD EO Sri MG Gopal in the personal supervision of Tirumala JEO Sri KS Sreenivasa Raju on Wednesday.
About 500 workers belonging to Engineering, Forest and Health departments of TTD were pressed into the activity to halt the fire menace in Tirumala ranges from 7.30am itself. The Fire Fighting Department officials also tried their best to prevent the fast spreading fire by gushing out waters in tankers near Kakulakona, Papavinasanam and Paruveta Mandapam forest areas.
Addressing media persons in mishap site, Tirumala JEO said, TTD has made elaborate arrangements to stop the forest fire. “It is very unfortunate that a massive forest fire swallowed up a vast area of forest belt in Tirumala ranges. On Tuesday evening the forest fire caught up but in the night though it appeared to have slowed down, due to heavy winds in Kakulakona area, it has multiplied to other areas. We have stalled the conventional windmill power due to the forest fire. We are also contemplating to use advance technology to put an end to this menace after discussing with Agama pundits. We are thankful to the mercy of Lord that this incident took place a day after Tumburu Teertham which witnessed heavy turnout of pilgrims in deep forests on the occasion. However we cannot draw a conclusion at this preliminary stage that whether this is a man made error or not”, he added.
Meanwhile over the instructions of CVSO Sri G Srinivas, Additional CVSO Sri Siva Kumar Reddy and other AVSOs took an active part in the fire fighting mechanism on Wednesday. SE II Ramesh Reddy, EEs and others were also present.
TTD EO Sri MG Gopal on Wednesday evening elaborated media in his camp office in Tirumala on the fire fighting measures taken up by TTD to arrest the forest fires which engulfed vast area in Seshachalam ranges. Excerpts-
- TTD negotiated with Governor, Chief Secretary and Defence Ministry over the fire mishap which created menace in Tirumala ranges and took up immediate fire extinguishing measures.
- Two MI-17 copters will reach Tirumala and do the aerial survey on Thursday morning and assess the to what extent the fire mishap has destroyed the forest belt in Tirumala and also calculate mitigation measures. The copters will drive water from KP dam and Gogarbham dams to prevent the fire.
- These copters will take aerial survey in the fire mishap area of the forest leaving of the “No Fly Zone” area of Tirumala temple abiding to the Agama rules.
- As per the final reports reaching the forest fire (flame width about 300m) is moving in North-Eastern direction and so far about 400 hectares of forest cover burnt to ashes in this major mishap. However there is no threat to Tirumala and the pilgrims are appealed not to feel panic and they can have their pilgrimage to Tirumala.
- Special team of fire extinguishing experts (disaster management) from Arakonam and Visakha Naval base will reach Tirumala and they will do their best to arrest the fire with chemicals and foam sprays
- A 24-hour control room will be operated from EO Camp Office in Tirumala with Tirumala JEO Sri KS Sreenivasa Raju, CVSO Sri G Srinivas, District Collector Sri Ramgopal and Tirupati Urban SP Sri Rajasekhara Babu closely monitoring the fire fighting activity
- The Wild Life DFO is also contacted to see that the fauna will not enter into the human habitation areas in Tirumala
- The shop keepers in the Papavinasanam area have been evacuated and shifted to safe places.
- EO complimented the staff and workers who tried their best to minimise the forest fire
ISSUED BY TTDs PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER, TIRUPATI.