IN LESS than two months, 889.53 hectares were razed in Benguet damaging more than P2 million.
This was disclosed by Edgardo Flor, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Penro)–Benguet, during the Cordillera Regional Risk Reduction and Management Caravan of Office of Civil Defense on Wednesday, February 26 at La Trinidad, Benguet.
He reported the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) Baguio recorded four forest fires that transpired in Bokod and Kabayan while Cenro-Buguias recorded eight forest fires in Bakun, Atok, and Tublay from January to present.
Flor said another fire in Daclan, Bokod and Dalupirip, Itogon was suppressed on Tuesday.
“It is very difficult to contain the fires due to steep slope and inaccessibility within the area, sometimes this are the problem, we cannot just go to the actual site to contain the fire because of unavailability of roads,” he added.
Last week, some 643.69 hectares were gutted by fire with an estimated damage worth P1.6 million in Mount Pulag in Kabayan.
The forest fire started at Barangay Adaoay and Anchokey on February 11 and was declared fire out on February 18.
Albert Mogol, Office of Civil Defense Cordillera (OCD-CAR) director and Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chair, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Cordillera assessed the damages were part of the natural pine and established forest under the Expanded National Greening Program (ENGP).
Affected ENGP comprised of 191.54 hectares with buried samplings of about 160,547 trees with an estimated cost of P1,564,230 and 452.150 ha. burned natural pine forest with 4,973 estimated seedlings that cost P106,225.
Initial investigation reveals the fire started in sitios Sacob and Abat of barangay Adaoay. Forest fires were aggravated by biophysical conditions such as terrain, heat and wind.