The Kohima forest division along with the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) jointly carried out a major operation to contain the forest fire in Dzukou Valley that broke out on December 29, 2020.
On Thursday, a strong contingent of 300 members was deployed to save the valley, which included forest field staff, SAYO volunteers and personnel from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), district executive force (DEF), and 47th Nagaland Armed Police (NAP).
Rajkumar M., the divisional forest officer (DFO) Kohima, said his office received information about the forest fire at around 2 PM on December 29, 2020.
The Kohima range officer was alerted immediately about the situation and was directed to send a team to assess the situation and stay in constant touch with SAYO leaders, who were in the forefront.
He stated that the initial assessments on the first day suggested that the fire may subside but still they kept constant vigil since forest fire is unpredictable.
Pezaneinuo, the range officer of Kohima, personally went along with her team and SAYO members on December 30 to the exact site of the forest fire.
They found that there was a lot of ground fire and it was spreading fast.
The team immediately conveyed the message to all the higher officials.
The DFO further stated that based on field reports, the Kohima forest division and SAYO decided to go for a major operation on December 31, 2020 in order to save Dzukou Valley, which is situated 30 km from Kohima along the Nagaland-Manipur border.
“The DFO said the only viable option is to clear fire lines on priority areas to contain the spread of the fire to the valley,” said a press release uploaded on the Facebook page of WeTheNagas.
They further contacted the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) to get regular update on active fire locations to assist the team, he added.
On December 31, 2020 morning, more than 200 SAYO volunteers turned up for the operation.
Around 50 personnel from DEF, Kohima, SDRF and 4th NAP, Thizama also joined the big contingent in the fight to save the valley.
Both the DFO, Kohima and SAYO president expressed gratitude to them for assisting in the operation. As per the latest information from the Range Officer, Kohima, a stretch of about 5 km fire line has been cut in the priority area.
“As per the present situation, the main valley is safe from fire. More than 200 volunteers from SAYO are camping in the base camp to monitor and to tackle the situation,” the press release added.