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President of Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) Zakiieto Tziikrii while briefing mediapersons on January 3 informed that approximately 10 square kilometres of Dzukou range has been razed by the fire.
“As per the latest communication received from the frontline volunteers, the fire has spread towards the western portion of the valley, and if it continues for another two days, the Zeliang-Angami border will also come under its grip,”, he added.
SAYO President also said, “We detected the fire at Dzukou halfway during the afternoon hours on December 29, and subsequently we learnt that many people had already trespassed into the Dzukou valley from Kezotsa”.
He also mentioned that on December 30, when the Governor of Nagaland along with officials of the Police and Forest Department visited the valley for an assessment, the fire had already engulfed 2 sq/km of the village.
Following this, 200 SAYO volunteers and 82 personnel from NSDMA, DEF Kohima, 4th NAP Thizama and Forest Department were pressed into action on December 31 and the same batch of volunteers carried on the effort till January 1.
Besides state agencies involved in the action to douse the fire, personnel from NDRF and other central defence forces have also been roped in to combat the spread of the fire which has constantly spread since December 29.
Highlighting a similar fire incident which happened in 2018, the SAYO has urged trespassers and trekkers to be more careful, and to follow all the instructions printed in the tickets issued by the youth organisation.
(Edited by Shankar Turha)