THE Provincial and Environment and Natural Resources Office in Benguet (Penro) will pursue further investigation into the fire at Mt. Pulag.
Carlos Arida said the investigation will focus on who the culprits are and the cause of fire which damaged four hectares in the area.
“Initial report is the fire was intentional,” he said. “We are still on the mopping to determine the extent. Sad to know that based on the report from the field, iyong nasunog ay forest, mossy forest. We are now on the process of how we are going to identify the culprits,” said Arida.
With the successive fire incidents in Benguet, the Penro official cited one challenge in Mt. Pulag is regulating conversion of forest land to farming.
Personnel from the park together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Power Corporation (Napocor), Bureau of Fire Department (BFD), local government unit and residents suppressed the fire.
However, strong winds ignited some embers and fallen debris and caused the fire to spread.
Following the recent fire, Akiki Trail was closed for rehabilitation for the safety of trekkers.
Aside from Mt. Pulag, a tourism site in the Benguet capital town was recently razed due to negligence.
On February 2, fire damaged a two-hectare area in Mount Yangbew in La Trinidad.
Senior Fire Inspector Francisco Copes said the bush fire originated at the lower portion of the mountain inside a private farm and further spread upwards.
Firemen created fire breaks in strategic areas of the mountain to stop the spread of fire.
No casualty was reported during the fire.
In Barangay Ampusongan in Bakun town, a fire that affected around four hectares was also reported at 8:30 p.m. of February 5.
Ampusongan Barangay Captain Florencio Balinggan Vicente said the fire at the mountain viewpoint area was immediately suppressed, however, they have yet to determine the cause of the fire.