Massive Fire in Seshachalam Forests
A major fire broke out in Tirumala seshachalam forest on Tuesday was still intense till date threatening famous balaji temple atop the Tirumala Hills.
The fire was first noticed at Pullatla on Tuesday 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 flames.
Tirumala officials were deploying helicopters to control the fire. Due to thick smoke that enveloped the hills, shops around temple were shut and pathway to tirumala temple was closed. As a precautionary measure, the pedestrian pathway from Alipiri was closed down.
The fire may be the handiwork of red sanders smugglers. Sources said the smugglers might have resorted to this with an intention to divert the attention of the forest officials. The fire has also threatened a wind power plant located in the forest.