THE wildfire that ravaged thousands of hectares of grassland across several western Misamis Oriental towns may have been started by a group of fishermen by accident in the village of Taytayan, Libertad town on Friday night, Gov. Yevgeny Vicente Emano revealed yesterday.
Emano sent the Gold Star Daily a handwritten report that pointed to an area near Laanan Creek in Taytayan as the origin of the grassfire that engulfed Mt. Anggas.
The report stated that the fishermen, who were not identified, were grilling food and that started the fire.
The capitol report said strong winds on Friday night fanned the flames and in no time, the fire spread to Mt. Pahiron and subsequently, to Mt. Anggas.
The fire spread to an area in the village of Tangkub in Initao town on Saturday, said the capitol, quoting a report from the Bureau of Fire Protection office in Initao.
The capitol said the area is inaccessible.
The BFP, according to the capitol, reported that there was no more fire as of Monday, and that there was no longer a threat.
Part of the report reads: “BFP assumption: dili na katabok.”
Gitagum councilor Nicole Velasco, chairperson of the town’s tourism committee, said the information local officials received from the BFP showed that the fire at Mt. Anggat started near the boundaries of Gitagum and Libertad, Misamis Oriental.
She said she was unaware of any BFP report about the cause of the wildfire.
Velasco however said Gitagum officials suspected that the grassfire was a result of the violation of a town ordinance that set rules for Mt. Anggas trekkers.
The ordinance, she said, requires those bound for Mt. Anggas to see town and Barangay Gregorio Pelaez officials first so they could be registered, and for orientation.
“Pero ang nahitabo, dunay mga tawo nga posibling misaka didto ug mi-agi sa backdoor, ug basin naghaling sila didto, ug naglabay bag opos sa sigarilyo hinongdan nga nasunog ang maong bukid,” Velasco said.
The ordinance, approved in January, prohibits people from bringing lighters and matches to Mt. Anggas. It also prohibits smoking, lighting fires, and throwing of garbage there. The town law also requires tourists to be accompanied by accredited guides. (Herbie Gomez and Nitz Arancon)