IN THE wake of several forest fires in Benguet province, government officials appealed for public support on fire prevention.
Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Benguet data from January to March 6, 2019 shows a total of 77 fire incidents recorded, 54 forest fires and 12 grass fires.
During the Kapihan sa Benguet on Thursday, Fire Chief Inspector Roberto Aragon, Benguet provincial marshal, said this 2019, seven forest fires were recorded in January, 40 forest fires in the month of February and seven forest fire from March 1 to 6.
The Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) noted Kabayan has the largest area affected with 314 hectares razed last February 1 in the areas of Mawini, Balangabang, and Mt. Ambubungan.
The BFP, Philippine National Police, and the Provincial Local Government Unit led by Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso appealed to the public that prevention of fire is not only the responsibility of concern agencies but the responsibility of all.
“In the case of forest fire, we have recorded 66 forest and grass fires in the province of Benguet and it is just the start of the month (March),” said the governor.
With the challenges of suppressing fires, a sub-committee is also being eyed to continuously discuss matters on forest fire incidence.
Earlier, the BFP Cordillera to date recorded 69 fire trucks BFP owned and 19 fire trucks purchased by local government units. Out of the 75 municipalities and two cities, 19 municipalities still do not have fire trucks and fire personnel.
In Kabayan, the town only has seven personnel having two shifts.
Authorities are still conducting parallel investigation on the forest fire in Itogon, Benguet where five died last February.
In preparation for dry season and forest fire, an inter-agency multi-sectoral cooperation was earlier sought to address the El Niño phenomenon starting this month.