Aarey fire destroyed 4 km of forested area, doused after night-long operation
The massive blaze that engulfed a forested area near Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon in Mumbai was doused after an all-night operation. The fire had spread over four kilometres before it was completely doused.
The blaze started in an open plot near Infinity IT Park along the General Arun Kumar Vaidya Marg in the western suburb, located adjacent to Aarey Colony.
The plot, which reportedly belongs to F E Dinshaw Trust, lies in the vicinity of Dindoshi Hills between SGNP and Aarey.
The blaze had triggered an alarm as various agencies scrambled to douse the flames that threatened to affect the tribal residents in the city’s biggest green lung.
The fire department’s officials said efforts to control the blaze were hindered by winds coming from the hills and it was spreading to nearby residential areas.
Mumbai’s famous Film City occupies part of the Colony, which is located off the Western Express Highway. The huge fire was visible from far away, including the Western Express Highway. Many social media users posted pictures and videos.
Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said the Disaster Management Control Room was directed to inform all police stations surrounding the forest to prepare to evacuate tribal residents.
By night, the fire started spreading towards residential areas such as New Mhada Colony near New Dindoshi Green Hill Society in Goregaon (East).
“Until 7.30 pm, the blaze remained confined to trees, dry leaves etc. within a distance of 3-4 km from the spot of fire. However, in the night it started moving towards the residential localities,” he said.
Mumbai Fire Brigade Team has contained the huge forest fire today again stood to there duties to perform in difficult circumstances. pic.twitter.com/XTzakliWyt
— Prabhat Rahangdale (@prabhatfire) December 3, 2018
Aarey Colony, which is spread over 16 square km, includes 12 villages.
Rahangdale said fire vehicles were unable to enter the forested area due to lack of access. “However, we managed to put two small hose lines into operation,” he added.
“Fire brigade also roped in forest staff and volunteers to put out the flames using tree branches,” he said, adding that fire engines from Film City were also diverted towards Aarey.
The fire was initially categorised as a Level-II blaze. However, it was upgraded to a Level-III fire at 8.05 pm following which 10 fire engines were pressed into service
“A total of 10 fire fighting engines, seven JTs, three Quick Response Vehicles were pressed into service. Apart from fire personnel, forest officers and Mumbai police personnel also helped in putting out flames,” he said.
The blaze, which was completely doused around 6 am today, did not result in any human casualties. However, some birds and animals that were likely trapped are suspected to have succumbed to the blaze.