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IAF Conducts Bambi Bucket Operations to Combat Forest Fires in Uttarakhand

Despite the Uttarakhand government’s submission to the Supreme Court that the emergency situation regarding forest fires is now over, the State Forest department reported 40 fresh cases of fire on May 8, 2024. This contradictory situation highlights the ongoing challenges faced in controlling the raging wildfires in the region.

Disciplinary Actions and Preventive Measures

In response to the severity of the situation, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami took strict action against 17 junior forest officers, suspending 10 and initiating a disciplinary inquiry against seven. The Chief Minister also directed all District Magistrates (DMs) to ensure public cooperation and strict action against those found involved in setting fires to the forests.

During a review meeting, Dhami emphasized the importance of creating fire lines to prevent the spread of forest fires. He acknowledged the progress made in controlling the fires over the past two to three days and stressed the need to reduce response times to fire incidents further.

IAF’s Bambi Bucket Operations

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been actively assisting the state in combating the forest fires. In response to the raging fires in the Pauri Garhwal sector, the IAF provided much-needed relief by undertaking Bambi Bucket operations using its Mi17 V5 helicopters.

Over the course of eight sorties spanning more than four hours, the IAF helicopters dumped 17,700 litres of water on the ground to douse the forest fires. In the last couple of days, the IAF has undertaken a total of 23 sorties, spanning 11 and a half hours, and utilized 44,600 litres of water to combat the raging flames in the mountains.

Collaborative Efforts and Future Planning

The Chief Minister’s emphasis on creating fire lines and reducing response times, coupled with the IAF’s aerial support through Bambi Bucket operations, demonstrates the collaborative efforts being undertaken to tackle the wildfire crisis in Uttarakhand.

As the state continues to grapple with the persistent threat of forest fires, the authorities remain committed to implementing preventive measures, enhancing coordination, and leveraging available resources to protect the region’s natural heritage and ensure the safety of its residents.

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