After fire broke out in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday, it kept on spreading far and wide, making it extremely difficult to douse it from the ground.
In this scenario, the government was took the help of Indian Navy to control the raging forest fires in Goa on Wednesday.
“The helicopters of Indian Navy flew multiple missions on March and sprayed approximately 17 tons of water at Cortalim and Morlem. Special gear LAALDE (Large Area Aerial Liquid Dispersion Equipment) was used by helicopters for this operation, which were mobilised by Indian Navy from Mumbai and Kochi immediately on receipt of information on March 6 from State Forest Department,” the Indian Navy authorities informed. More than 26 sorties were made over affected areas.
After deploying Sea King helicopters of the Indian Navy, an IAF Mi-17 helicopter was pressed into action for fire fighting.
“The Indian Air Force deployed one Mi-17 helicopter for Bambi Bucket operations in the fire affected areas in Goa. The helicopter flew multiple missions, dispensing almost 22,000 litres of water to fight the fire. The IAF is coordinating closely with the Indian Navy and the civil administration in this regard,” the IAF officials said.
Bambi Bucket operations involve the helicopter carrying water underslung and releasing it over the affected area to douse the fire. In the recent past, IAF has also undertaken similar operations in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur.
The Bambi Bucket is lightweight and fully collapsible, so it fits within the helicopter for transportation. Its fool-proof bottom valve requires very little power to work and hooking it up is simple and hassle-free. It also shoots water down in a solid column, making it more effective in containing fire.
The Bambi buckets have been extensively used across the world and in India to douse fires aerially. On repeated occasions they have been used by the IAF to douse wildfires and other blazes.
In May 2018, an MLH class helicopter of the Indian Air Force was pushed into action to help contain the fire in South Delhi's Malviya Nagar area. The fire had been classified as the “highest category” blaze in Delhi in recent times. The Bambi Bucket was also used by the IAF to help contain the Uttarakhand wildfire in 2021.
In January 2021, when a massive wildfire in the famed Dzukou Valley located on the border of Manipur and Nagaland, continued to burn, four Mi-17V5 IAF helicopters equipped with Bambi Buckets carried out aerial fire fighting operations. The Bambi Bucket was also used in Japan to douse the nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster of 2011.