JAMMU, MAY 29:
A major Forest Fire broke out in Mata Vaishno Devi shrine from 23 May 18 which halted the Yatra. More than 20,000 pilgrims were stuck at various places along the track due to major fire. Air Force Station Udhampur was requested by Civil Administration to contain the situation and secure life & property. Helicopters based at Air Force Station Udhampur were immediately pressed into action. The Helicopters were equipped with under slung water buckets which can carry water upto 4,500 L. In Aviation terminology, these are known as Bambi Buckets. A Bambi Bucket is essentially a perfect collapsible bucket utilizing a pilot control valve that can deliver a concentrated column of water from the Helicopter to fire. The development of Bambi bucket has been a breakthrough development after feedback from Helicopter operators and Forest & Land Management Agencies.
02 Helicopters were immediately launched for Humanitarian Operations at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. The Helicopters collected the water from Chenab River near Reasi & first precise drop was carried at new track between Ardh Kunwari & Bhavan. It was a daunting task keeping in mind the high ridges of Trikuta hill, high tension cables & challenging terrains.
On 28 May 18, another fire engulfed the Garh Mata Mandir at North of Pathankot, Punjab. This fire posed a major threat to life of Pilgrims and nearby habitants. On request of District Administration Pathankot, Air Force Station Udhampur responded for the Humanitarian assistance and very swiftly launched another Helicopter equipped with Bambi bucket.