May 24, 2024
“RAINMAKERS” — Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera and CDRMMC Chairman Albert Mogol posed for with Air Force personnel who conducted cloud seeding operations in Benguet. The 900th Air Force Weather Group using the LC-210 aircraft, dispensed 1,200 kilograms of salt in 48 sacks in the province from March 2 to March 12. —  OCD-CAR photo

To curb forest fires in Benguet, the Philippine Air Force has conducted a series of cloud seeding operations in the province. 

The 900th Air Force Weather Group using the LC-210 aircraft, dispensed 1,200 kilograms of salt in 48 sacks in the province on March 2 to March 12, according to PAF. 

This is to assist the province and the Bureau of Fire Protection in containing forest fires happening in the province and complementing the heli-bucket operations of the 505th Search and Rescue Group of PAF. 

The group, in collaboration with the Civil Defense Cordillera and Tactical Operations Group 1 under the Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon, extended the operations to the Ambuclao Dam to help increase the reservoir’s water level depleted by months of no rain.

Gov. Melchor Diclas lauded the efforts of the agencies and volunteers.

The operations include a cumulative flight time exceeding 14 hours and eight minutes, which encompasses 24 sorties. 

The 900th Air Force Weather Group is responsible for weather information, observation, reporting, and cloud seeding operations in PAF, in coordination with the government agencies. 

“The Philippine Air Force remains committed to supporting firefighting efforts in Benguet. Cloud seeding operations will continue alongside the 505th Search and Rescue Group’s vital work to extinguish the blaze and protect the region’s natural resources,” it stated. 

In La Trinidad, the BFP reported eight hectares of grassland near Mount Kalugong were damaged on March 10. 

The La Trinidad Fire Station responded to the grassfire near the area in Tawang in La Trinidad at noon, affecting the area in Barangay Tawang just below Mount Kalugong. 

Other responders assisted in the fire suppression in the area, including the BFP-Benguet, Tublay Fire Station, La Trinidad Municipal Police Station, La Trinidad MDRRMO, and the Tawang Barangay Peacekeeping Teams.

Fire out was declared 9:25 p.m. of the same day. 

In Atok, the municipal DRRM informed the public Halsema Highway, particularly at Km. 46 in Paoay is temporarily not passable due to a forest fire on March 15. 

Thick smoke covered a part of the highway making it impassable for motorists in the area. – Ofelia C. Empian