Indian Navy, Air Force assist in fire fighting ops in Goa
As Goa faces the worst forest fires, the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force have deployed a large number of its assets to contain the fire. Major forest fires at multiple locations in Goa, including fires at Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Morlem and Cortalim, were reported by Goa authorities. On a request, the Indian Navy deployed its assets to contain the fire. A Dornier was flown on 7 March 2023 to survey the area and localise the fire. Fire fighting equipment was then flown in from Naval Units based at Kochi and Mumbai and multiple sorties for fighting the fire were undertaken by the Sea King aircraft of the Navy.
The helicopters flew multiple missions on March 8 and sprayed approximately 17 tons of water at Mhadei, Cortalim and Morlem, in 26 runs over the affected areas. The complex operation required picking up water from a nearby water body and releasing it over affected areas in difficult terrain.
The special gear Large Area Aerial Liquid Dispersion Equipment (LAALDE) used by the helicopters for this operation was mobilised by the Navy from Mumbai and Kochi on March 6, immediately after receiving information from the State Forest Department.
Navy helicopters have persisted in these operations since the early hours of March 7 in coordination with state authorities and forest officials. Three sorties by Seaking helicopters were also undertaken on March 9. The efforts were conjoined by IAF deploying its Mi-17 helicopters as well for the survey as well as fire fighting.
The IAF deployed one Mi-17 helicopter for Bambi Bucket operations in the fire-affected areas in Goa. The operations have seen this helicopter flying 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. Bambi Bucket operations involve the helicopter carrying water underslung and releasing it over the affected area to douse the fire.
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