A fire broke out at Aarey Colony near Infinity IT park in Goregaon East, Dindoshi, on Monday night. Tribals residing in the area, along with cattle, have been evacuated. Ten fire engines and seven jumbo water tankers were rushed to the spot and are were in operation till late at night. The fire broke out at 6.21 pm.
The blaze escalated to Level 3 (major) at 8.05 pm. “The fire has covered an area of 3-4 km and is confined to trees and dry leaves. Two small water lines are in operation. All visible flames have been put out using fire beaters,” said PS Rahangdale, the chief fire officer. The fire spread from Film City area in Goregaon East towards MHADA colony near Dindoshi Green Hill Society.
Fire engines were diverted towards Dindoshi and by 10.44 pm bigger trees in the area caught fire. No one is reported to be injured in the incident but heavy damage to the forest is feared. The cause of the blaze is not known yet.
Other than the fire brigade, 100 beaters and volunteers have been appointed to control the blaze and cordon off the area. Rahangdale said: “There is no access route for the fire vehicles to reach inside the forest area. In addition to small hose lines, green branches of trees are also being put to use to control the spread of the fire. “This is the first time that blaze has escalated and covered a huge area. During the month of December, every year, we see small fires in the area but not this big,” said Tasneem Shaikh, a resident who stays near Aarey Colony.
Stalin D, an environmentalist from NGO Vanashakti, said: “Every year, the forest area at Dindoshi is set on fire. This land has been constantly neglected and the authorities have refused to intervene. It looks like a conspiracy to hand over the forest mountain to developers.”
Rahangdale said: “Strong winds led to the spread of fire in the area. As there was no approach road inside the forest, major pockets of blaze were brought under control by using fire beaters (fresh/green branches of trees to create fire break). Four fire control equipment and jumbo water tankers have been kept on standby till Tuesday morning.”