Fire in the Seshachalam forest area caused palpable tension in Tirupati on Thursday.
The hills to the north-east side of Tirupati were engulfed in flames, which slowly spread to the upper portions, making the suburban areas feel the heat.
The fire only aggravated the situation that had arisen following the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Many residents of Jeevakona and Satyanarayanapuram reached their roof-top and watched the raging fire spread upwards. A few persons captured the same on their mobile phones.
Authorities from the Forest Ddepartments Tirupati Wildlife Division rushed 40 personnel to the spot.
The TTDs Forest Department deployed 25 personnel from its side to tame the fire.
Though the fire was believed to have been caused by the scorching summer heat, the forest officials believe it to be the handiwork of mischievous elements venturing into the forest area from Jeevakona for fun, or anti-social activities.
It is not a forest fire, but a manmade fire in forest area, Divisional Forest Officer (Tirupati Wildlife Division) M. Nagarjuna Reddy said.
The terrain is hard to reach and no vehicle (four-wheelers or fire tenders) can be taken closer to the spot.
Only fire-beating is possible here, he pointed out. Fire-beating is a process of hitting the burning trees and shrubs in the jungle with the help of coconut fronds.
As reports last came in, the forest staff zeroed in on most of the raging areas and tried to bring down the fire, though it started spreading upwards.