The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has cautioned that the raging forest fire in Nagaland's Dzukou valley is 'continuously increasing its magnitude' and is now spreading towards the hilly areas of the neighbouring state of Manipur.
Indian Air Force helicopters are also engaged for dousing the fire at the valley. However, reports have pointed out that an NDRF Assistant Sub-Inspector has lost life during the firefighting activities.
N Binoy Meetei, a resident of Luwangshangbam Maning Leikai area in Manipur's Imphal East district, was found dead on Tuesday, January 5, inside one of the base camps.
The disaster management force informed that it has deployed seven teams in the affected areas including Kohima district in Nagaland and Senapati district of Manipur to assist firefighters in extinguishing the forest fire.
According to media reports, the fire broke out along a trekking route in Dzoku valley on December 29 on the Nagaland side and started spreading across the border to Manipur on December 31.
"NDRF teams are employing all possible techniques to check further spread of fire," said a National Disaster Response Force spokesperson said in a statement.
The valley is about 30 km from Nagaland's capital Kohima and is a popular trekking destination known for its lilies and biodiversity. According to an Economic Times report, the authorities have not been able to find out the reason for the fire but it is being speculated that it might have been caused because of the campers or trekker leaving the resting site without extinguishing their campfire.
"However, as it is a dry season, fire might be caused by friction," Nagaland State Authority's Officer on Special Duty, Johnny Ruangmei, told the publication. He reiterated that the valley was a tourist spot and the reason for the fire remained unascertained.