Four IAF Choppers Begin Tirumala Fire Dousing Operation

Published: 20th March 2014 05:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2014 05:13 PM   |  A+A-


Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 100 army personnel Thursday joined an operation to douse a fire raging in Seshachalam forests for three days, officials said.

Two Mi-17 and two C130 helicopters took off from Renigunta airport near Tirupati in the afternoon to put out the fire, which is reported to be raging about three km from the famous Balaji temple atop Tirumala Hills.

Making several sorties over the forests, the choppers tried to put out the fire by spraying water and chemicals.

Earlier, Sambasiva Rao, director general, fire services, made an aerial survey of the forests.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the famed temple, said the flames at Kakula Konda near Tirumala were controlled to a large extent but the fire was still raging in Papavinasanam.

"We are not taking any chances as this is summer season. The operation will continue till the fire is completely extinguished," said TTD joint executive officer K. Srinivasa Raju.

The choppers and army personnel joined hundreds of civilians battling the fire, which has already destroyed over 5,000 hectares of forest.

TTD has closed both the pedestrian pathways leading to Tirumala Hills as a precautionary measure. It has mobilized more than 1,000 personnel from forests, fire services, police and other departments to control the fire.

The authorities reportedly failed to take timely action, which resulted in the fire spreading to a vast area. A small fire was first spotted in the forest range a week ago. The forest department allegedly did not act on the alerts from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US.

As Tirumala Hills is a no-fly zone, TTD had to consult the priests, before granting permission to deploy helicopters. This delay also reportedly led to the fire spreading to new areas.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tamil Nadu news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp