Thane: Another fire breaks out in Yeoor forest; locals claim sabotage

Mar 25, 2016, 17:18 IST | A Correspondent

A day after a huge forest fire broke out inside the Yeoor Range of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Wednesday, another forest fire broke out in the Yeoor range of the SGNP on Thursday evening

A day after a huge forest fire broke out inside the Yeoor Range of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Wednesday, another forest fire broke out in the Yeoor range of the SGNP on Thursday evening.

On Wednesday evening, a huge fire broke out in the Yeoor range of SGNP at around 6-6.30 pm, following which the FD was informed by the local residents on their control number. Later, the FD officials even informed the fire-watchers team, who reached the spot to douse the fire. As the leaf litter and forest is already dry due to the summer, the fire had spread in a larger area and it destroyed a patch of the forest.

Pics credit/ Bedraj Tripathy

“On Wednesday, the forest was doused by our team but we again we got a call saying that another forest fire had broken in the forested patch near Indira Nagar in Thane-Mulund belt near SGNP. We informed the concerned team about it,” said n FD official from SGNP.

A Thane resident Bedraj Tripathy even informed about the same to SGNP and Yeoor office after he spotted the fire. “I think the apathy of citizens, the officials and the government towards natural resources and the short term view of making a quick buck drives these rampant fires, which burn the entire greenery. I don't think the officials have taken any steps. It’s burning over three days at a stretch, but no one is bothered.”

The pictures of the fire have gone viral on Facebook and other social networking sites, and some are even alleging that they place has been deliberately torched by those trespassing into the area.

Environmentalist Krishna Tiwari said, “Disheartening to see massive forest fires erupting in Yeoor Hills since March 20. Almost 99.99% of forest fires in SGNP are man made. It can be carelessness, fun, revenge, poaching, vested interests, etc. These fires not only destroy mega but also micro flora and fauna, leading to severe irreversible ecological damages and thus threatening the critical biodiversity of park. These fires are also adding up extra air pollution to city already facing a bad air quality. I appeal to citizens, locals, tribal and forest authority of SGNP to take a strong call against this disastrous problem.”

Pawan Sharma from NGO RAWW added, “Regular forest fires have been witnessed in different patches of Tulsi and Yeoor range since February and, unfortunately, the authorities are unable to counter, prevent or control it. We have been receiving regular complaints from citizens, residents of Mulund and Thane regarding forest fires. The main problem that needs to be tackled is that of people entering the core forest areas and if this is not dealt with strictly, thee would be many such incidents as the areas are torched by people deliberately. Tulsi range, irrespective of being among the top core areas, is facing very serious threat due to these activities. Both animals and the overall habitat is disturbed and exploited due to human activities.”

“The biggest problem is political pressure, which is the biggest hurdle in clearing encroachments and shutting down illegal entry and exit points from where people venture in to the forest. The immediate POA (Plan Of Action) is to involve citizen groups and organisations to officially be a part and participate in conservation and protection work, which will help in vigil and monitoring the activities happening in and around the park as it is impossible for the park authorities to do the same with limited staff base,” added Sharma

Locals also allege that there are many people who trespass into SGNP, and are involved in activities that include conducting parties inside the park, consuming alcohol and doing drug, cutting trees, and these people also torch forests.

Did you know?

Forest Fires begin from the month of November and reach its peak in April. Thereafter, as much of dry foliage is not left, the number of incidents starts reducing.

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