Another fire breaks out at Kharghar hills near Mumbai, second blaze in three months | Hindustan Times
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Another fire breaks out at Kharghar hills near Mumbai, second blaze in three months

Fire officials said the fire spread as locals often burn dry grass to make way to go to areas where they can get wood

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2018 00:50 IST
G Mohiuddin Jeddy
Smoke billows after a fire broke out at Kharghar hills around 11am. It was brought under control by 2pm.
Smoke billows after a fire broke out at Kharghar hills around 11am. It was brought under control by 2pm.(Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times)

A major fire broke out at Kharghar hills on Thursday, destroying the greenery.

The site of a nature park, Kharghar hills is spread over 200 hectares.

The fire broke out in the hills around 11am behind Saraswati College. This is the second major fire in three months.

According to DJ Mhatre, Cidco fire official, Kharghar, “The fire had spread over a huge area by the time we reached the spot. We managed to bring it under control by 2pm. No one was injured.”

The fire department blamed the local tribals for the incident.

Mhatre said, “Prima facie, it seems that the fire went out of control because the local tribals often burn the bushes as they need dry wood. It is usually localised but sometimes gets out of control. They have been advised but they continue to do so.”

SK Rathod, regional forest officer, Panvel, said: “We will investigate who caused the fire. Those responsible can be jailed without bail for three months.”

He added, “Our study and investigations show that it is the local tribals who are usually responsible. They burn bushes to make way to go to the areas where they can get wood.”

Last November, many trees were destroyed on Kharghar and Owa hills in similar incidents of fire. There have been a couple of smaller fires too in the last couple of months.

The forest department has been taking measures to protect the greenery on Kharghar hills. It has planted 31,000 trees in the past three years.

Cidco, with the help of Panvel and Thane forest departments, has started building a nature garden on Kharghar hill.

There are many hamlets surrounding the hill. Villagers used to collect firewood for cooking but gas cylinders have been distributed to stop tree cutting.

Action is being taken to prevent the destruction of these trees. 5 forest personnel have been deployed on the hill for its maintenance. The forest personnel too are inspecting regularly.