Days after a raging wildfire broke out in Karnataka's Bandipur Tiger Reserve, the state on Monday called for assistance from the Indian Air Force to contain the fire, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy tweeted.
Hours after the request placed by the state government, the IAF sent two helicopters for the joint operations. A video of the firefighting operations showed the Russian-origin Mi-17 helicopters, flying over the tiger reserve with a 'bambi bucket' - a small water tank held by a cable to the helicopter - and spraying water to contain the fire that had spread over a wide area.
The defence spokesperson in Bengaluru posted a video along with a statement depicting the firefighting efforts by the IAF. "A total of 10 sorties have been flown by the two heptrs spraying approximately 30,000 liters of water to fight the fire in the region," the statement read.
#BanipurForestFire— PRO Defence Bengaluru (@Prodef_blr) February 25, 2019
2 MI 17 heli activated by @IAF_MCC. 1@ Karadikal betta range & othr @ Chammana halla top. Bambi bucket operations underway. 10 sorties & 30 k ltrs sprayed.
Fire fighting operations to continue Tomo@CMofKarnataka@nsitharaman@SpokespersonMoD@DefenceMinIndiapic.twitter.com/XxaTeSfgTv
The video shot from the helicopter also shows layers of thick smoke lining the region.
"The fire is almost under control. The copter move has been relatively successful. Two tonnes of water was splashed in each sortie," said Joseph Hoover, an environment activist.
The fire that broke out some five days ago reportedly gutted acres of land and is feared to have killed hundreds of wild animals, reptiles and insects. The fire could have also endangered some species of tigers, according to news agency PTI.
The BJP Karnataka on Monday launched an attack on the HD Kumaraswamy government for not doing enough to contain the fire. "Wake up the state is on fire," the Karantaka BJP tweeted.
8k+ hectares of forest reduced to ashes & fire is only spreading at #BandipurTigerReserve.— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) February 25, 2019
CM @hd_kumaraswamy can you please step out of your luxury stay in Taj westend hotel & look at the destruction in #Bandipur.
Do you realise the scale of tragedy.
Wake up the state is on 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TefajEhS0a
The Bandipur Tiger Reserve is in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. It connects Ooty with Mysore.