IAF choppers use bambi buckets to control forest fire in Trikuta hills, Vaishno Devi Yatra resumes
The pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi shrine resumed after the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters controlled the forest fire that had broken out at Trikuta Hills in Katra district on Wednesday evening. Two IAF choppers used specialised buckets called bambi buckets that can carry approximately 2,500 litres of water at a time to pour water on the flames.
The helicopters sourced water from the Reasi water reservoir to fill the buckets that were suspended from a cable.
Following the fire, the annual pilgrimage to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine was suspended for a second consecutive day on Thursday. Around 25,000 pilgrims were stranded at the Katra base camp for clearance to start the uphill trek to the shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.
While fire tenders tried to contain the fire, two Mi-17s were put on standby for help in the case of fire going unruly. Trenches were also dug to prevent the fire from spreading out.
Also, a light utility helicopter of Indian Air Force was sent for a reccee in Trikuta Hills on Wednesday, according to the Indian Air Force.
Aerial photo showing the extent of the fire. (Source: Indian Air Force)