Involvement of red sanders smugglers suspected

A major fire broke out in Tirumala forests reportedly ravaging vast areas of vegetation on Tuesday.

The fire, that was first noticed at Pullatla at noon, spread in no time towards Eethakayala mandapam and Kakulakonda area and later to the eastern parts of the forest. Sandalwood trees, endemic to Tirumala forest ranges, were largely destroyed in the inferno.

Though the forest officials rushed to the spot, they could not bring the fire under control owing to short staff and inadequate fire fighting equipments. The fire being the handiwork of red sanders smugglers is not ruled out. Sources said the smugglers might have resorted to this with an intention to divert the attention of the forest officials. TTDs Chief Vigilance and Security Officer (CVSO) G. Srinivas rushed to the spot along with his team to assist the fire fighting staff.

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