IAF Presses Newly Acquired “Bambi Bucket” In Control Forest Fire
On request from the state administration, the newly acquired Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force was pressed into action using the Forest Fire Fighting Equipment, euphemistically called “The Bambi Bucket”. The helicopter was positioned at Rangapahar, close to Dimapur, late evening on 3rd Feb and commenced operations from daybreak on 4th Feb.
The first sortie was devoted to carrying out a detailed aerial assessment of the general area, the extent of the fire and most importantly, an open source of water. Having identified a small lake near Dimapur as the source, the helicopter dunked a collapsible Bambi Bucket in the lake and hauled up about 2500 kg of water.
With the Bambi bucket which was hanging about 25 m below its belly, the helicopter, captained by Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav of the IAF, dispensed its load of 2500 kg of water over the raging fires below, at a height of almost 10000 ft.
The task was even more arduous owing to the restricted area from where the water was picked up and the strong winds of 40-60 kmph with the attendant turbulence. The helicopter, flying from morning till evening, managed to undertake five such sorties and was instrumental in dowsing part of the fire which was in two inaccessible pockets of about 1-2 square km each.
By the end of the day, about 25000 kg of water has been dropped over the affected area. Owing to the extent of the fire and destruction caused by it, the Indian Air Force decided to press in one more Mi-17 V5 for the task on 5th Feb. Three more sorties were carried out by noon on 5th Feb and the major part of the fire brought under control.