300 plus volounteers battle with Mt Japfü fire
Fire brings forest staff, administration, youth, Naga regiment, Nagaland police, together Ministry of Environment and Forests alerted for assistance
KOHIMA, FEBRUARY 2
THE wildfire which broke out on Mount Japfü Thursday evening continued to spread further along the range for the fourth day today. The wind posing a threat to blow the flames towards the dense bamboo shrubs which skirts and carpets Dzükou Valley. Its only a matter of time,and fate before the entire high altitude valley is engulfed in flames, if the inferno sets the bamboo shrubs ablaze.
Talking to Eastern Mirror, PCCF Nagaland, M. Lokeswar Rao confirmed that the wildfire is spreading out. He said a detailed report of the fire has been sent to the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India, along with a request for assistance as the state does not have the resources to fight fire on such a precipitous terrain. We will need air resources such as helicopter, and disaster management experts, he said, adding, a strong team from the forest department assisted by public organizations and the local youths from Kigwema are doing their best to contain the fire at the moment. The PCCF expressed concern that forest fires have become a continuous process in the area and underscored the need for mass awareness programmes. He also said that he has gone up to the base camp which has been set up for volunteers at Pony Farm, Kigwema today and spoke to the local people that entry into Mt. Japfü and Dzükou Valley should be restricted.
Meanwhile, Angami Youth Organization (AYO) president, Medo Yhokha said the fire on the peak is now controlled except for huge smouldering logs of wood in several locations.
However, he also voiced concern that the fire is raging on to different directions and has spread about 800 metres between Saturday evening and Sunday morning alone, leaning down towards Dzükou Valley.
Highlighting the efforts of the 300 plus strong team of volunteers who went up the mountain range to control the inferno on Sunday, Yhokha said the volunteers were divided into several groups to create fire brakes in different directions with spades, shovels and machetes.
“The terrain itself is a challenge,” he said, pointing out the need for volunteers who know the area through the forests. He acknowledged the support extended by the personnel of territorial army (Naga Regiment) Jakhama, stating that they had not only volunteered in the fighting to bring the wildfire on Mt. Japfü under control but are also providing wireless sets for the volunteers to contact one another since there is no mobile service network deeper down south towards Dzükou Valley.
He explained the need for each group of volunteers to be in contact with the rest for information and reinforcement.
He informed that around 50-60 youth from Kigwema are gearing up to camp in the valley from Monday in an attempt to work day and night to keep the inferno from reaching Dzükou valley from the southern side of Mt. Japfü. The AYO president said this team will be supported by two teams from territorial army (Naga Regiment) Jakhama and Nagaland police besides other volunteers during day time. He also informed that on Monday, the western Angami people along with the SDO (C) Sechü (Zubza) will be monitoring the fire on the western range of Mt. Japfü.
Asserting that the volunteers are doing their best to stop the fire from spreading further, he reiterated if the wind is stable then they are hopeful that the inferno will be brought under control within a day or two.
The team of volunteers on Sunday included members of Southern Angami Youth Organization, Angami Public Organization, Southern Angami Public Organization, AYO, Angami Gazetted Officers’ Krotho, district disaster management team from IRB, territorial army (Naga Regiment) personnel and Kigwema Youth Organization.
JYO to send 1000 volunteers
THE Jotsoma Youth Organisation (JYO) will send around 1000 volunteers to Mt. Japfü and they wil be camping there till the fire in the highest peak of Kohima district is brought under control. The volunteers of JYO have been assisting the administration/Forest department for the last two-three days to contain the fire but the blaze could not be brought under control, a JYO release said today. A fire broke out at Mt. Japfü on Thursday evening and subsequently spread to other areas.