A fire that erupted on Monday, 3 December, near the Aarey Colony forest in Mumbai’s Goregaon was doused after 12 hours on Tuesday, 4 December.
While the fire department was trying to douse the fire, officials said the winds blowing from the direction of the hills were aiding the blaze, which was spreading towards residential areas.
Mumbai's famous Film City occupies part of the Aarey Colony, which is located off the Western Express Highway.
The blaze had started around 6:30 pm in an open plot near an IT Park along the General Arun Kumar Vaidya Marg in the western suburb, located adjacent to the Colony.
Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale had told The Quint that there was no access to the fire vehicles inside the forest. Two small hose lines were in operation and green branches of trees were also used to control the fire.
Fire Had Spread Towards Residential Areas
The Disaster Management Control Room was directed to inform all the police stations surrounding the forest to prepare for evacuating tribal residents and cattle if the need arose, Rahangdale said.
He added that the fire had started spreading towards residential areas such as New Mhada Colony near the New Dindoshi Green Hill Society in Goregaon (East).
"“Until 7.30 pm on Monday, the blaze remained confined to trees and dry leaves within a distance of 3-4 km from the spot of fire. However, at night, it started moving towards the residential localities.”" - Prabhat Rahangdale, Chief Fire Officer
The forest fire in Aarey Colony is bound to raise questions as activists have been demanding better protection for its biodiversity ever since the Metro construction began in the area pic.twitter.com/UvhxCKirZh— Kajal K Iyer (@Kajal_Iyer) December 3, 2018
The Aarey Colony, spread over 16 square kilometres, includes 12 villages.
Massive fire at Aarey - SGNP for 3 hours now. It's a constant happening every year and Fire Department, Forest Department, Mumbai Police should investigate into it after immediately trying to curb the fire to control further loss#SaveAareyForest pic.twitter.com/gDLBPP0oNJ— AAP महाराष्ट्र (@AAPMaharashtra) December 3, 2018
10 Fire Fighter Engines Pressed into Service
The fire vehicles were unable to enter the forested area due to the lack of access. However, the fire department managed to put two small hose lines into operation, Rahangdale had said.
"A total of 10 fire fighting engines, seven JTs, three Quick Response Vehicles have been pressed into service. Apart from fire personnel, forest officers and Mumbai Police personnel are also helping in putting out flames," he had said.
Many big fire pockets that are located at a far distance (in the forest) are brought under control with the help of fire beaters. In such forest fires, open uphill wind results into rapid spread.
(With inputs from PTI)
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