Maharashtra: Suspected ‘man-made’ fire breaks out at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, no casualties reported

According to the local residents, the fires are occurring since Monday. "We have been calling the fire department. Although the fire has never been big, the frequency is too high. There is definitely some foul play involved," said Harish Shore, a resident of one of the societies near SGNP.

| Mumbai | Published: March 14, 2018 12:11:31 am
Suspected 'man-made' fire breaks out at Sanjay Gandhi National Park Forest fire at Yogi Hills in Mulund on Tuesday. (Express photo by Janak Rathod)

Fire broke out in different pockets of Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Tuesday. According to forest officials, they suspect the fire to be man-made caused by encroachers to clear forest land.  Divisional Forest Officer PR Masurkar said, “Due to encroachment in the area, there have been instances of fire in the past few days. We arrested one person on Monday for causing fire and he has been remanded to judicial custody.” He added that multiple teams of forest officials were sent to the spots to examine the situation.

 Fire broke out in parts of Thane including on the Ghodbander side near Bhayandarpada as well as parts of Mulund near Yogi Hill. Shashikant Kale, fire officer, Thane, however, denied that they had received any call of fire caused in SGNP. According to the local residents, the fires are occurring since Monday. “We have been calling the fire department. Although the fire has never been big, the frequency is too high. There is definitely some foul play involved,” said Harish Shore, a resident of one of the societies near SGNP.
Suspected 'man-made' fire breaks out at Sanjay Gandhi National Park Forest fire at Yogi Hills in Mulund on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Janak Rathod)
A forest official from the Yeour range confirmed there was a fire as well on Tuesday evening. “There was a small fire in the area around 6.30 pm. We extinguished the fire with the help of the nearby tribals. We will have to investigate whether it was a natural fire or man-made,” he said.
However environmental activists working in the area say such incidents have become common and they are generally set by encroachers.  “It has become a common occurrence to have several fires in the area during the summer. Most often these are deliberate fires set by encroachers. During summer they think it will be passed off as natural incidents. These fires always happen near the encroachments,” said Rohit Joshi, founder and convenor, Yeoor Environmental Society- popularly known as YES.
Suspected 'man-made' fire breaks out at Sanjay Gandhi National Park Forest fire at Yogi Hills in Mulund on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Janak Rathod)

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