June 4, 2023

The Bureau of Fire Protection-Cordillera recorded a total of 42 forest fires in the region from January to February this year.
With the onset of the dry season, the BFP-CAR reminded the public to be wary of fire hazards especially in areas prone to forest fires.
The latest series of forest fires happened in three areas in Barangays Bontoc Ili and Samoki in Bontoc, Mountain Province in February.
On Feb. 1, BFP personnel responded to the forest fire that hit Sitio Sollong in Samoki affecting a wide area planted with pine trees, which was declared fire out after five hours.
The next two fire incidents happened on Feb. 14 where the first one happened at Sitio Napu, Bontoc Ili. The BFP-Bontoc reported that the fire started at a makeshift structure along the road. It then spread rapidly in the surrounding dried vegetation resulting in the razing of 15.72 hectares of land.
Personnel from the Bontoc Fire Station, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Bontoc Emergency Response Team, Bontoc Municipal Police Station, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office –Sabangan, and volunteers aided in containing the fire that day.
The second fire was reported at Balitian, Barangay Bontoc Ili where responders contained the fire at 10:20 p.m. of the same day. There were no reported injuries and casualties on all of the fire incidents while investigation is ongoing.
BFP-CAR Director S/Supt Robert Pacis said some of the reasons for the forest fires was due to the practice of kaingin and the warm weather paving way for the dry season.
Pacis said forest fires are also challenging since some of the areas affected are in hard to reach sites due to its accessibility for responders.
He said the agency is strengthening its campaign on fire prevention with various activities lined up for this year’s observance of the Fire Prevention Month this March.
He said they have started the activation of the inter-agency task group against forest fires in the provinces and municipalities. – Ofelia C. Empian