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TTD gears up to prevent forest fire

TTD gears up to prevent forest fire
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TTD gears up to prevent forest fire
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Tirumala: In the wake of mercury level soaring due to the advent of summer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Forest wing stepped up the measures to...

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Tirumala: In the wake of mercury level soaring due to the advent of summer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Forest wing stepped up the measures to prevent fire in the forest area under its control in Seshachalam hills.

The TTD geared up the personnel working in the Forest department including the field staff as well as home guards and vigilance staff to keep them fully prepared to meet any contingency. According to TTD Forest Officer D Phanikumar Naidu, the TTD has rolled out special measures including setting up of watch towers, fire lines and fire-fighting squads to guard the forest wealth from fire accidents during hot summer months. He said the TTD has set 40 feet high 4 watch towers in Tirupati and 5 towers in Tirumala forest belt comprising of 2,950 hectares.

A full-fledged and well-equipped forest fire fighting squad is also kept ready to trace the fire spots with smoke visibility. The areas under watch tower cover includes Nakkala Vanka, Samidhula plots, firewood depot, SV Poor Home Nursery in Tirupati range and Narayanagiri Padalu, Kakulakonda, Windmills area, Chittekkudu (Gali Gopuram point).

Two forest guards, positioned atop the watch towers, in two shifts would keep a constant watch on 24-hour basis. While firefighting squads comprised of 80 members at Tirupati and 70 in Tirumala kept ready to keep round-the-clock vigil.

Two vehicles were provided for each zone for faster reach to the fire spot. They use blowers to remove dry leaves to check fire and also use fire engines to contain fire in the forests on roadside. There are two engines in Tirumala readily available for dealing with forest fires and the other departments including vigilance and water works were also alerted to ensure water provided through tanks to assist the Forest wing fighting the fire.

Besides, the TTD has also dug up 49 km of fire lines of 10x20 metres size amidst the thick shrubs and forest trees to break the fire spreading. Phanikumar said TTD is contemplating to put up 45 cement water pits (water tanks) in addition to existing ones in the forest belt, keeping in view most of water bodies in the forest would dry up in the summer, to quench the thirst of wild animals. The cement pits are modelled in the shape of a saucer to facilitate easy access to animals.

The Forest Officer said that this apart TTD also organised a four-day training programme to the personnel working in fire prone areas including temple kitchen (Potu) inside Tirumala temple, Boondi Potu (outside the shrine), Tarigonda Vengamamba Annaprasadam complex and gas plant, in tackling fire.

The home guards and select vigilance personnel also participated in the training conducted by district assistant fire officer Hemanth Reddy. The Fire department personnel demonstrated and imparted training on various firefighting measures like using fire gas (Carbon dioxide, foam, dry chemicals) to contain fire.

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