Editorial: Aside from house fires, watch out for forest fires

EL NINO rages on and it has not rained for weeks now up there in the mountains. Thus, we awakened to news that forest fire is raging on Mt. Apo, both Davao and Cotabato side.

That should be expected, considering the number of climbers who went up Apo for the Holy Week.

A thousand were to be allowed. We do not know how many actually went up. But even less than a thousand will be too big a footprint on a mountain that is suffering from a major El Nino. One wrong move, one misplaced spark, and you get a fire.

There are a lot of speculations so far on what really caused the fire. There are claims that eye witnesses saw somebody set it up. Official sources would rather be cautious about this information and would just say that the fire started after the trekkers have gone down.

The fact remains, there is a fire and it is raging, and that is what all residents should watch out for.

It is not just Mt. Apo that is in danger as El Nino rages on.

In the 1990s, during the long, hot drought brought about by el Nino, Marilog district suffered its worst forest fire ever, barely a single tree was left standing after that and it took years for the trees to grow back again.

Whether it be forest, grassland, brushes, or houses, the weather should be a constant reminder to never, ever left any open fire unattended. Never ever throw cigarettes without first making sure that not a single glowing ember remains. Always remind your children to never play with fire. Always make sure that every appliance is unplugged whenever you leave for a vacation.

The El Nino is expected to end by June yet, that is a good two months away. We’re not even sure if it will bring ample rain or just usher in a different extreme weather condition.

In the March 10 advisory released by the US Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, it said that climate models all point toward the continuation of a strong El Nino.

“All models indicate that El Niño will weaken, with a transition to ENSO-neutral likely during the late spring or early summer 2016. Thereafter, the chance of La Niña conditions increases into the fall. While there is both model and physical support for La Niña following a strong El Niño, considerable uncertainty remains. A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with close to a 50% chance for La Niña conditions to develop by the fall,” it said. Early summer is mid-June 2016, fall starts on September 22, 2016.


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