May 3, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – After more than a month since the massive fire in Mt. Apo started, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Davao Region has finally declared a “fire out” on Monday.
BFP-Davao Region spokesperson Nestor Jimenez said they have declared that the fire was successfully suppressed after results of the ground verification and thermal imaging showed there were no longer active fires and embers present in the vicinity.
He also said no more new blaze has been observed since the BFP declared the fire “under control” last April 11.
Earlier, Davao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) head Harry Camoro said the bambi bucket operations; establishment of fire lines; cloud seeding operations; and natural rains have greatly contributed to the suppression of fire.
Camoro also recognized the efforts of more than 200 volunteers.
Information officer Franklyn Buenaflor of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Davao del Sur said based on their assessment, the total area burned was estimated at 111 hectares, contrary to the earlier reported estimate of over 300 hectares.
The fire in the country’s highest mountain that straddles North Cotabato, Davao City, and Davao del Sur started from its peak last March 26.
The blaze spread out downward to Lake Venado in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato and adjacent forested areas of Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur.
Buenaflor said rehabilitation efforts are now being undertaken that may include “naturally assisted regeneration” since Mt. Apo’s terrain is difficult for tree planting activities.
He noted that most of the damaged portions are grasslands.
Due to the fire incident, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao Region has decided to indefinitely close all Mt. Apo Natural Park trails for trekking and climbing activities to allow rehabilitation of the affected area.
The cause of fire is still undetermined. -AIB