Dry grass that caught fire in an open place near Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Shamshabad has triggered panic among villagers on Thursday afternoon.

Three fire tenders from Chandulal Baradari, Musheerabad and Langer Houz rushed to the spot after receiving a call around 2.45 p.m. By then, flames spread over 20 acres making it difficult for fire-fighters to control them.

Chandulal Baradari Fire Officer B. Sudharshan Reddy said flames could have erupted after a careless smoker threw a burnt cigarette butt on the dry grass. Necessary precautionary measures were also taken to prevent flames from spreading to the nearby residential areas.

Fire fighters continued with their operation when last reports came in.