While residents were celebrating Holi, we were battling a fire at the lake. Today at about 2.30 p.m., we spotted smoke and rushed to the lake. Some miscreant, we think, must have flung a lighted cigarette or beedi on the dry grass on the revetment. It took just that simple action to set off a conflagration which spread not just on the slope but also along the dry areas of the lake bed. Today being Sunday, our gardeners were off duty and the home guard it seemed had decided to take a holiday.
We called the fire brigade and got the flame doused but by then quite a number of our trees and shrubs had suffered. Our gardeners have been clearing the slope but not the lake bed because here's where birds like Ashy Prinia and Bulbul frequent. This was also the place we'd spotted the Bay backed Shrike a few months ago, rare for an urban setting, as mentioned in our post here.
Even as the fire raged and smoke billowed, a flock of kites hovered around. We do not know how many of the Prinias and Bulbuls and other small birds perished in the fire. All the water birds had moved to the far end, away from danger so they are safe.
A request to each one of you who uses the lake even as a short cut - if you see anyone smoking a cigarette or beedi, ask them to put it out at once. Show them the burnt grass. Please wait to see that they indeed put out their cigarette or beedi. Thank them for saving the birds from another fire.
The lake belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it.