GUWAHATI: The Mizoram government on Sunday sought the help of the Indian Air Force to control a massive wildfire which affected 20 sq km areas in the state’s Lunglei district.
“On the requisition of Mizoram government, the Indian Air Force is deploying two Mi-17V5 helicopters, equipped with Bambi Buckets, to douse the major fire in Lunglei district and adjoining areas,” Shillong-based defence spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told this newspaper.
A user wrote on Twitter: “Wildfire/Forest fire continues to rage in Lunglei as firefighters and local volunteers stayed up throughout the night to prevent it from spreading to homes and petrol stations”.
Official sources said the fire, which broke out on Saturday, was spreading fast due to wind and temperature.
“The fire is spreading fast due to wind and temperature. Sometimes, it looks normal and then suddenly it flares up. We are using all available local resources to contain it,” Lunglei District Magistrate, Kulothungan A told this newspaper.
He said except for one place on the outskirts of Lunglei, the fire had not entered any human settlement areas. He said it was completely under control by Saturday evening until started raging again on Sunday morning.
“Nobody was injured and there is no economic loss. We have an evacuation plan. We will evacuate people as and when required. The administration will take care of their needs for food and shelter,” Kulothungan said.
He said investigation was on to find out the cause of the inferno. The burning down of jungles by the villagers for jhum cultivation was the reason behind many such incidents of wildfire in the Northeast in the past.