Personnel engaging in fire line cutting at Dzukou Credit: EastMojo Image

Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday informed that he would make an aerial survey of the Dzukou valley wildfire.

Taking to Twitter, Rio wrote: “Tomorrow, I will be making an aerial survey of the latest forest fire situation at Dzukou valley that is spreading across Nagaland and Manipur. There has been a joint effort to tackle the situation, and the Nagaland side is more or less under control.”

Johnny Ruangmei, OSD to Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA), also informed that a situational assessment will be carried out on Tuesday along with the Indian Air Force team. He added that the uniformed personnel and volunteers would continue making the fire control line.

The NSDMA, in collaboration with the state’s Geographic information system (GIS) and Remote Sensing, will also be deploying unmanned aerial vehicle drone (UAV drone) for area damage assessment.

Ruangmei said that Dzukou valley has ecological and environmental significance for Nagaland and the entire North East region.

The NSDMA first received a report about the fire incident on December 29.

“The valley is a relatively remote and inaccessible area of the state and given the terrain, high altitude and other factors, emergency response operation there is a challenge,” he said.

He added that fires in the Dzukou valley are relatively controlled as on Monday. “The Dzukou valley fires operations may be demobilised depending on the final assessment of the fire situation to be carried out by IAF team along with NSDMA official,” Ruangmei added.

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Meanwhile, Kohima deputy commissioner (DC) and District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Chairman Mohammed Ali Shihab informed that fire line cutting was carried out in full swing and four Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters, two from Rangapahar Military Station and two from Dimapur Civil Airfield were on Bambi Bucket operations to contain the inferno.

He said that a total of 14 sorties with 28,000 litres of water was dropped on Monday, making a total of 56 sorties with 75,000 litres of water till date. The Air Force will also be operating from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday to contain the spread of fire.

He said that as per the IAF assessment, the fire was well within control and may be able to achieve 100% by Tuesday. The NDRF personnel along with police from Manipur were also reportedly seen at the site of the incident coordinating the situation.

The DC informed that on Monday, a total of 78 personnel were engaged in the operation to contain the fire, which included 17 Kohima police personnel, 10 personnel from 4th NAP, 05 from Forest and 46 NDRF personnel (including those stationed at base camp). The Operation team except NDRF who are staying back at the base camp have returned back to Kohima and the operation will continue again on Tuesday with the teams departing Viswema Dzükou entry point early morning.

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