In Mizoram, a terrible forest fire has been raging for more than 32 hours now. It is spreading from the hills of south Mizoram, to towns and villages of two neighbouring districts - Lunglei and Lawngtlai . The massive fire spread out to the outskirts of Lunglei, a town situated in the south-central part of the Mizoram state. It has been reported to have started at around 7 am on April 24. The fire is mainly concentrated in the uninhabited forest areas surrounding the town but has spread to more than 10 village council areas within the town.
Lunglei authorities, firefighters and volunteers were involved to put the fire out. Apart from local volunteers the Assam Rifles and the Border Security Forces (BSF) have also stepped out to actively participate in the firefighting efforts.
On the requisition of the government of Mizoram, the Indian Air Force deployed two Mi-17V5 helicopters to put the fire out. Dry vegetation due to drought conditions, coupled with strong winds, has made the mission extremely challenging. And the unfriendly terrain of the area also poses a very serious risk and hindrance for the firefighters. Private water tankers have also voluntarily deployed their vehicles for firefighting.
“In Bungtlang South, the fire consumed 12 houses and partially destroyed two. No persons were injured but livestock perished”, said Marilyn Rualzakhumthangi, ADC, Lawngtlai district.
In the wake of the present crisis in Lunglei, the Deputy Commissioner & Chairman, District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Shri Kulothungan A convened an emergency meeting with key stakeholders at his office. Detailed plan of action was charted out, with the Committee deciding on seeking the help of the Indian Air Force in containing the fire. State Government authorities have been contacted in this regard. Several Ministers from Aizawl are expected to visit Lunglei to take stock of the crisis.
According to Lunglei Additional DC Pu M Misael, the concerned authorities are presently investigating who or what caused the fire. There are certain reasons to believe that the fire is manmade, and a meeting will be convened with affected Village Councils and Young Mizo Association (YMA) leaders of the areas to ascertain the exact cause, he added.