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A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday (Dec 3) evening. The fire broke out behind Infinity IT Park at General AK Vaidya Marg, Dindoshi.

No casualties were reported till late evening.

The fire, which broke out at around 6:21 pm escalated to level three by 8:05 pm. According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

Activist Zoru Bhathena said, “Although there might be no human casualties but there might be a huge green cover loss. Also, it is likely that there may be many animals and birds stuck in the forest fire. The cause also needs to get investigated as it may be an attempt to encroach the land by later claiming it to be a barren land.”

Ten fire engines, seven jumbo tankers and three quick response vehicles have been pressed into action to battle the fire.

Fire officials on ground are also using green branches to douse the fire. After the fire started to spread to the other side of the forest, the disaster control room intimated the nearby police stations to evacuate adivasis and cattles, if any, present in the area. The disaster control room officials, however, confirmed that no one was stuck in the fire.

Teams of the Forest Department, Mumbai Fire Brigade and other agencies were battling the blaze amidst fears that it could destroy the rich the flora and fauna in the region.

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park region has a variety of big and small wildlife including leopards, peacocks, deer, and hogs, besides a variety of insects, birds and plant life.

(With HT Inputs)

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