KOHIMA/IMPHAL: The Nagaland authority has expressed hope that the raging week-long wildfire in the famed Dzukou Valley on its border with Manipur will be brought under control within two days, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters, over 300 volunteers and personnel of many departments continuing their efforts to extinguish the inferno at the biodiversity hotspot.
Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority's Officer on Special Duty, Johnny Ruangmei said 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,'' said Ruangmei over phone.
He added that the Army, State Police, State and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Forest Department, volunteers of Southern Angami Youth Organisation (SAYO), accompanied by the local people and NGOs, are jointly making fire lines in the Valley to break off the link between the blaze and the forest.
The disaster management officials said that as the fire continued in multiple pockets and hillocks, they are yet to assess the damage and natural destruction of the valley.
IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh 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,'' said Wing Commander Singh over phone from Shillong.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who had conducted an aerial survey to take stock of the wildfire that has caused huge damage since it broke out on Tuesday, on Saturday tweeted that the NDRF HQ had deployed 60 personnel at the wildfire site at the Dzukou Valley. Also two helicopters equipped with Bambi bucket have been deployed to fight the wildfire. (IANS)