A team from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), and three more Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters will be pressed in, from today, to help the ground forces in Manipur contain the Dzukou Valley wildfire that started on December 29. The centre has assured all necessary help to combat the massive blaze that started in Nagaland four days ago and has since spread to its neighbouring state.
“Just received a call from Union Home Minister Amit Shah to assess and discuss the situation about the wildfire at Dzukou Valley. Mr Shah has assured all the necessary assistance from the Home Ministry to contain the situation at earliest,” Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said.
On Saturday, the centre airlifted an NDRF team to the Manipur side of Dzukou Valley where over 200 firefighters of the state fire service are on ground battling the blaze.
The IAF, which has sent a total of four Mi-17V5 helicopters to the site, also started relief operations this morning.
According to officials, state’s firefighters have been able to partially control the forest fire in the picturesque Dzukou Valley. But, the wildfire on the southern side is yet to be brought under control, they added.
“The wildfire on the eastern side of the Dzukou Valley, spreading from Mount Khungho towards Mon, has been brought under control,” Mr Singh said.
Officials of both state, Nagaland and Manipur, have claimed that by now the wildfire is expected to have destroyed much of the pristine forest, and harmed the rich biodiversity of the valley, which is a globally famous trekking site.
The Dzukou Valley ranges between Nagaland and Manipur. The forest fire had started earlier this week from the Nagaland side of the forest and shifted to the Manipur side.
After the fire spread, the Manipur Government had sought the assistance of the Indian Army and the NDRF. On Thursday, the Manipur Chief Minister had conducted an aerial survey.
A day later, when the fire could not be brought under control by the state forest and fire service officials, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had called the chief minister.
Nagaland Governor RN Ravi had also visited the site on Wednesday.
The Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority is yet to confirm the cause of the wildfire.