Over 600 hectares of forests in the town Kabayan in Benguet province have been ravaged by fire that lasted for eight days
The fire started on February 11 at sitio Bulok in barangay Adaoay and it spread in the areas of barangay Anchokey until February 17. Personnel from BFP-CAR, DENR –CAR, forest protectors with the support of the community and other volunteers suppressed the fire the following day.
Based on the assessment conducted by DENR, damages include the established forest plantations under the Expanded National Greening Program with an area of 191.54 hectares and the burned natural forest covers 452. 15 hectares with a total of 165, 520 saplings worth of P1, 670,455.00 were burned.
Initial result of the investigation conducted by authorities shows that the probable cause of the forest fire is related with the economic activities of the local residents in the area which is agriculture aggravated by the biophysical conditions of the area, fire management of concerned agencies and the apparent indifference of the community towards the prevention of forest fires.
As preventive measure, the Mount Pulag Park Management issued a public advisory closing the southern ingress or Akiki trail for safety and for the surrounding area to recover from the forest fire incident.
It can be recalled that in the early part of January, the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (Cordillera RDRRMC) reactivated its Inter-Agency Task Group for the reduction of fire incidents and effects of El Nino phenomenon chaired by DENR-CAR and BFP-CAR as co-chair.
Cordillera RDRRMC and OCD-CAR Regional Director Albert A. Mogol reiterated the importance of partnership especially the people’s participation in the reduction of forest fires and the need to protect forest and natural resources as these can also protect communities against possible landslide during rainy season.