Indian Air Force helicopters with Bambi Buckets have been pressed into service to put out an Australia-type bushfire raging for two days in Mizoram's Lunglei district.
Late on Sunday night, the fire had spread to Lunglei town and villages in the adjoining district of Lawngtlai.
Mizoram government firefighters, backed by Assam Rifles and Border Security Force troops and local volunteer groups have so far failed to put out the fire, officials said.
The fire was sparked around 7 a.m. on Saturday possibly by some villagers who were trying to clear the hills near Lunglei town, possibly for shifting cultivation common in the hills of Northeast India.
It snowballed into a raging bushfire spreading to ten village council areas in and around Lunglei town. By Sunday night, it had spread to three rural development blocks of Lawngtlai district.
The Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun says forests of the Northeast and central India regions are the most vulnerable areas to forest fires.
Forests in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura have been identified as 'extremely prone' to forest fire, not only because they have substantial forest cover but because in recent years, monsoon have been delayed and the vegetation dries up.
The news is going viral on Twitter along with the hashtag #PrayforMizoram.
Have a look.
With inputs from IANS.