Indian Air force deployed an MI-17 chopper to douse the major fire which broke out in the forest area near Mount Abu in Sirohi district.
The fire broke out in the morning and spread over several kilometres. The administration is making use of a modified MI-17V5 helicopter to put out the blaze, District Collector Abhimanyu Kumar said.
The affected area is close to Mount Abu, the sole hill station in the state, where a large number of tourists arrive in the summer season. However, tourist activities remained unaffected in the area, a police official said.
A defence spokesperson said: “The helicopter unit at Phalodi in Jodhpur swung into action on receiving a call from the state government, seeking help in dousing a massive forest fire in the hills fast progressing towards the inhabited areas assisted by winds.”
A suitably modified MI-17V5 helicopter with a bambi bucket reached the site and conducted a quick aerial recce before the operation. It drew water out of Nakki lake in the middle of Mount Abu.
The IAF team managed to push in seven sorties dropping close to about 20,000 litres of water over the spread of fire dangerously close to inhabited area, he said.
The operation is likely to be augmented by an additional IAF MI-17V5 helicopter from Jamnagar tomorrow at first light.
Meanwhile, the IAF has directed the state administration to provide aircraft refuelling facilities at the location in order to save precious time during operations tomorrow, the spokesperson said.