BOARD Member Patrick Lacson, chair of the Provincial Board Committee on Environment, said that his committee is closely coordinating with Energy Development Corporation (EDC) to address the fire that gutted 218 hectares plantation in Murcia last March.

Murcia fire investigator Rolando Mider said that the fire started from an arable land near EDC-Landingan- Andan- Guinam-an Farmers Association (Lagfa) plantation.

Lagfa members immediately responded but the extreme dry weather accompanied by the wind gusts caused the rapid spread fire.

EDC has been maintaining this plantation in partnership with Lagfa for about five years already. The progress of their project such as maintenance activities, seminars to association members and patrolling activities has been part of their quarterly report to the Provincial Board.

"I heard that they (EDC) are continuously doing their reforestation projects not just within MKNP (Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park) but also in other areas in Negros Occidental," Lacson said.

He said that this kind of incident is something that is beyond the control of project implementer. "The dry condition aggravates the situation as we know that we have extended dry season this year. As the committee head, this is a good reminder for us to intensify our effort and strategy on prevention and control of forest fire occurrences,” he added.

EDC and the Provincial Board Committee on Environment are now coordinating to address the Lagfa plantation fire incident.