Mount Abu: The Indian Air Force (IAF), Army and CRPF continued their Herculean operations to control the forest fire near Mount Abu that has been raging for nearly four days now.
On Sunday too, two IAF MI-15V5 helicopters carried out 64 shuttles dropping over 1,95,500 litres water over flames for the third day in succession, an IAF spokesman said. So far, the choppers have done 144 sorties by airlifting water using Bambi buckets and dropping close to 4 lakh litres at various locations to douse the blaze.
Continuous strong gust has only aiding the flames to spread at new places as fire has gripped several thousand hectares of forest land on three sides of the hills. While the IAF took to the sky, the Army jawans of Gorkha Rifles and CRPF, took their positions all over the hills.
The operations are being co-ordinated by the commanding officer, Air Force station commander and a lieutenant colonel along with sub-divisional magistrate Suresh Kumar Ola, and assitant conservator of forest GK Srivastav.
The Gorkha Rifles were again pressed into action on Sunday morning following reports of fire raging along the highway and near Arna village endangering the village, Arna eco-tourism site and hampering vehicular traffic. Army men equipped with gas masks and firefighting equipment were able to control the fire in areas around Arna and in the vicinity of eco-tourism site in approximately three hours. The vehicular traffic which was stopped along the highway was also opened by around 1 pm.
The helicopter operations are, however, expected to continue with the dousing operations on Monday An Army spokesperson said their priority is to keep the main road to and fro from Mount Abu completely open, although the fire is raging on both sides of some stretches about six km down from entrance toll booth. Flames were visible right from Gambheer Nala to the other side of Arna, Rishikesh.
Army jawans have cleared much of the main road to Mount Abu and are also systematically extinguishing gerund fire even at some dangerous places, often with eighty degree gradients.