Guwahati, April 26 : Indian Air Force helicopters with Bambi Buckets have been pressed into service to put out a bushfire raging for two days in Mizoram's Lunglei district to the south of the frontier state in the Northeast.
The fire had spread to Lunglei town and villages in the adjoining district of Lawngtlai late on Sunday night,
Mizoram government firefighters, backed by Assam Rifles (AR) and Border Security Force (BSF) troops and local volunteer groups have so far failed to put out the fire.
Indian Air Force (IAF) on receiving a SOS from Mizoram government, pressed into service two Mi-17V5 helicopters, equipped with specialised Bambi Buckets, to control the raging bushfire.
The fire was sparked around 7 a.m. on Saturday possibly by some villagers who were trying to clear the hills near Lunglei town, possibly for shifting cultivation a common practuce amnong the tribalpopulation in hill districts of Northeast..
The fre has already spead to ten village council areas in and around Lunglei town as well as to three rural development blocks of Lawngtlai district.
Officials said the helicopters have somewhat helped control the fire.
Mizoram DIPR said in a press statement said that the fire ravaged localities such as Zotlang, Serkawn, Chanmari in Lunglei town, even engulfing "some buildings". But it said the fire in Lunglei town "could be contained and doused before it caused any major loss to property."
As the fire had spread close to human settlements, the administration evacuated residents. However, some damage was reported from Lawngtlai district.
The fire completely destroyed fourteen houses in Bungtlang South, . Nobody were injured but livestock perished in the fire, according to an official.