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Dzükou Valley ‘safe’ from wildfire, say officials

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jan 04, 2021 11:58 pm
Fire line cutting underway at Dzükou Valley on Monday. (DPRO, Kohima)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Jan. 4 (EMN): The Dzükou Valley is said be ‘safe’ from the wildfire that has reduced a large portion of its surrounding areas to ashes, even as scores of personnel from government agencies and volunteers continue their efforts to contain the spread of the inferno.

Personnel from Indian Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Kohima Forest Division (KFD) and Nagaland Police along with Southern Angami Youth Organisation (Sayo) volunteers have been battling to save the picturesque valley from the fire, which was suspected to have been started by some unidentified trekkers on December 29.

Sayo Vice President, Khriese Sale told Eastern Mirror on Monday that ‘Dzükou Valley is safe’ from the fire. However, he said that the fire was raging downwards from the Elephant Gate and Rasekro ranges, even as volunteers and government agencies continue fire line cutting to prevent the fire from catching Dzükou.

In the meantime, Sayo president Zakieleto Tsükrü informed that about 25 NRDF personnel along with Sayo volunteers were camping at Dzükou guest house to keep a vigil and monitor the situation. He added that about 30 volunteers would be assigned to the picturesque location on Tuesday.

“As per the ground report, the fire is under control,” Pezaneinuo Chielie, Kohima range forest officer, told this newspaper on Monday evening.

“The operation will continue and we will get to know the situation only tomorrow (Tuesday),” added the officer, who has been leading her team to Dzükou daily to tackle the fire.

Chielie said that the contingent has been busy undertaking the fire line cutting while helicopters try to douse the fire over the hillocks and areas where it is difficult to reach on foot.

Meanwhile, sources informed that the chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, will make an aerial survey of the valley on Tuesday. The CM has also confirmed the same on Twitter.

 “Tomorrow (Tuesday), I will be making an aerial survey of the latest forest fire situation at Dzükou Valley that is spreading across Nagaland and Manipur. There has been a joint effort to tackle the situation and Nagaland side is more or less under control,” he wrote.

Dzükou Valley fire operation team including Kohima Police personnel, 4th NAP, Forest, NDRF and others. (DPRO, Kohima)

Review meeting held

A review meeting on the activities undertaken at Dzükou Valley was held on Monday under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of DDMA, Mohammed Ali Shihab A in his office chamber and it was attended by officials like SP Kohima, Manoj Kumar; ADC Kohima, Lithrongla Tongpi Rutsa; and DFO Kohima, Raj Kumar, according to an update from DPRO Kohima.

Shihab informed at the meeting that the fire was ‘more or less under control on January 4’ as fire line cutting continued, while four India Air Force (IAF) helicopters — two helicopters from Rangapahar Military Station and two from Dimapur Civil Airfield — were on Bambi bucket operations to contain the inferno.

 “A total of 14 sorties with 28000 litres of water was dropped today making a total of 56 sorties with 75000 litres of water till date,” he informed, adding that the IAF will be operating from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday to contain the spread of fire.

 “DC further informed that as per the IAF assessment the fire was well within control and may be able to achieve 100% by tomorrow (January 5),” read the update. The DC also expressed optimism that the fire would be fully under control within a day or two.

The operation team except NDRF, who are staying back at the base camp, have returned to Kohima and the operation will continue on Tuesday with the teams scheduled to leave for the valley from Viswema Dzükou entry point at 5 am.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jan 04, 2021 11:58:27 pm