Aizawl: Mizoram’s Lunglei district is witnessing an forest fire raging for two days which the Indian Air Force (IAF ) helicopters with Bambi Buckets are making efforts to put out.
Officials stated that the Mizoram government firefighters who are supported by Assam Rifles and Border Security Force troops and local volunteer groups have so far not been able to douse the fire.
As the situation saw little to no improvement, the Indian Air Force receiving an SOS from the Mizoram government. It pressed into service two Mi-17V5 helicopters late on Sunday evening, equipped with specialised Bambi Buckets.
The fire sparked around 7 a.m. on Saturday perhaps while some villagers were trying to clear the hills near Lunglei town possibly for shifting cultivation as seen commonly.
The fire went on to spread to Lunglei town and villages in the adjoining district of Lawngtlai late on Sunday night.
The situation escalated as it transformed into a raging bushfire spreading to ten village council areas in and around Lunglei town. It then spread to three rural development blocks of the Lawngtlai district by Sunday night.
“We have controlled much of the fire by Saturday evening itself,” said A. Kulothungan, DC, Lunglei district, “However, it erupted again on Sunday morning and is still raging. High winds and dry vegetation have caused the spread of the fire and it is now a huge challenge to put it out”.
In a press statement, Mizoram DIPR informed that the fire severely affected localities such as Zotlang, Serkawn, Chanmari in Lunglei town, even engulfing “some buildings”.
But it was hopeful that the fire in Lunglei town “could be contained and doused before it caused any major loss to property”.
Mizoram forest officials had previously informed that around 1,300 forest fires were reported in the state last year.