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Copters douse forest fire

Shillong, Feb. 5: A major part of the forest fire in Nagaland has been brought under control with the Indian Air Force carrying out three more sorties today.

A fire had engulfed the pristine forests close to Mt Japfu in Kohima since January 31 causing widespread destruction to the flora and fauna.

The newly acquired Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force was pressed into action using the forest fire fighting equipment, euphemistically called the Bambi bucket.

The helicopter was positioned at Rangapahar, close to Dimapur, on Monday late in the evening and commenced operations from daybreak on Tuesday, defence public relations officer Group Captain Amit Mahajan said.

After having identified a small lake near Dimapur as the source, the helicopter dunked a collapsible Bambi bucket in the lake and hauled up about 2,500 litres of water. “With the Bambi bucket, which was hanging about 25m below its belly, the helicopter, captained by Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav, dispensed its load of 2,500 litres of water over the raging fires below from a height of almost 10,000 feet,” Capt. Mahajan said.

The helicopter managed to undertake five such sorties and was instrumental in dowsing part of the fire, which was in two inaccessible pockets. By the end of the day, about 25,000 litres of water had been poured over the affected area.

Owing to the extent of the fire and destruction caused by it, the air force pressed into action one more Mi-17 V5 for the task today, Capt. Mahajan said.

It was for the first time in the country’s history that helicopters are being utilised for fighting forest fires.


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