Sub-surface fire damages trees without damaging their roots

With the onset of summer, the first major forest fire for the season on the Tirumala hill ranges erupted on Wednesday. What is described as ‘creeping fire' in the parlance of forestry, the sub-surface fire is said to have damaged by and large shrub jungles and trees here and there without however damaging their roots.

One fire tender with logistics provided by three water tankers and firemen are said to be still fighting the raging inferno when reports last came in. Sunder, DFO, TTD ruled out any casualty to the wildlife barring the death of some ‘low order creatures' like snakes, mangoes, scorpions etc which normally perished in forest fires as they cannot run faster.

As to the contingency plans to tackle the wild fires in the TTD forests area measuring 2465 ha on and off the Tirumala hills, Sunder said that fire squads with necessary communication gadgets have been put in place at all vulnerable points to look out for jungle fires and alert the mobile fire tenders and water tankers to swing into action.

He said a Forest Range Officer assisted by supporting staff is exclusively charged with the task of monitoring the areas prone for forest fires.