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Nagaland: Helicopters deployed to douse Dzükou Valley fire

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By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jan 03, 2021 12:11 am
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KDF, SDRF, DEF and NAP personnel and Sayo volunteers undertake fire line cutting at Dzükou Valley on December 31.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Jan. 1 (EMN):
The ravaging wildfire at Dzükou Valley that was perilously spreading since it broke out on December 29, is said to be under control on Saturday following joint efforts by army personnel and civil society organisations.

Sources informed Eastern Mirror that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed helicopters equipped with bambi buckets to douse the fire around Mount Tempu range and the adjoining areas of Dzükou Valley.

It was informed that personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDIF) and Kohima Forest Division (KFD), along with Angami Youth Organisation (Sayo) volunteers have been camping at Dzükou Valley to tackle the inferno.

The PRO Kohima, Ministry of Defence, also updated on Twitter that four helicopters have been pressed into action to control the fire and that the “Bambi Bucket Operations” would continue on Sunday.

Rajkumar M, Divisional Forest Officer, Kohima Division, had informed through a press released on Thursday that the KFD and Sayo were jointly trying to contain the fire. It informed that more than 300 contingents from Forest field staff, Sayo volunteers, and personnel from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), District Executive Force (DEF) and 4th Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) were deployed to save the valley.

“Kohima Range Officer was alerted immediately about the situation and was directed to send a team to assess the situation and to stay in constant touch with Sayo who were in the forefront,” Rajkumar said after his office received information about the forest fire earlier this week.

“The only viable option was to clear fire lines on priority areas to contain the spread of the fire to the valley,” the press release stated, adding that the Forest department “further contacted National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) to get regular update on active fire locations to assist the team”.

Rajkumar maintained that a stretch of about 5 km fire line had been cut in the priority area and that “the main valley is safe from fire”.

Kohima range forest officer, Pezaneinuo Chielie told this newspaper that they initially feared the fire might spread further since the wind was uncertain, blowing rampantly from both the south and west directions.

She informed that the forces and Sayo volunteers were able to cut around 5 km of 2 metres width to save the valley from the fire. “We are in constant touch with Sayo volunteers for any emergency,” she had said.

Khriese Sale, vice president of Sayo, told this newspaper on New Year day that “the fire was under control”.

Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority’s Officer on Special Duty, Johnny Ruangmei told IANS that the heavy gusty winds have affected the officials’ effort to tame the fire but ‘we expect that it would be fully brought under control by Monday, as the blaze has been contained partially’.

“The IAF helicopters on Saturday sprayed 8 tonnes of water on the wildfire. Over 300 volunteers accompanied by the personnel of various departments and organisations were battling against the raging fire,” Ruangmei told IANS over phone.

IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh also said that following a requisition by Nagaland, the Eastern Air Command in Shillong had initially deployed a Mi-17V5 helicopter to check the wildfire.

“After assessment of the extent of fire, the IAF is deploying three more helicopters equipped with Bambi Bucket. C-130J Hercules aircraft of the IAF airlifted 9 tonnes load for fighting the fire including 48 NDRF personnel from Guwahati to Dimapur on Friday night,” IANS quoted Wing Commander Singh as saying.

It may be mentioned that Nagaland Governor RN Ravi had said during his maiden visit to Dzükou Valley on December 30 that stern action would be taken against the miscreants responsible for the inferno at the valley which is home to many species of flora and fauna.

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By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Jan 03, 2021 12:11:58 am