March 5, 2024

To aid in the suppression of forest fires in Benguet, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office plans the creation of barangay-based fire brigades.
Benguet-PENR Officer Edgardo Flor said his office would lead the discussion on the mechanisms and procedures on the creation of a local fire brigade per barangay.
Penro will gather the 140 barangays in the province along with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Health, provincial government, and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in a meeting on Jan. 31 at the Ben Palispis Hall at the Capitol.
Flor said activation of fire brigades is in preparation for the summer months when forest fires are expected to occur.
“Considering that forest fires are catastrophic because it heavily affects our people in terms of economy, agriculture, health, their social well-being, and environmental destruction hence, it is imperative to take actions to control the same,” he said.
Participating offices and agencies will also discuss the signing of a memorandum of agreement that will delineate their responsibilities and commitment on forest fires suppression and control. 
The BFP-CAR has recorded two forest and grass fires this January all in Benguet, one at Ambuklao, Bokod which was declared fire out on the evening of Jan. 19 and on Jan. 8 at Ampusongan, Bakun which was also suppressed on the same day.
In February last year, one of the biggest forest fires for the year occurred at Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet in the forestry area being maintained by Philex Mining Corporation.
Five people died, four of them foresters of Philex Mines, while trying to suppress the fire, which easily spread due to the lack of moisture during the dry season. – Ofelia C. Empian