By LITO RULONA,
The forest fires that hit Mt. Nakalo in Barangay Sil-ipon, Libona; Sitio Kibenton in Brgy Impasug-ong; and Sitio Sanggaya in Brgy Dalwangan, Malaybalay have been contained after aerial inspection conducted over the weekend.
In a report posted by the Office of Civil Defense 10, Regional Director Ana Cañeda took off in an army Cessna plane with other government agency for an aerial inspection of Kitanglad and Kalatungan mountain ranges, all in Bukidnon, that are affected by forest fires since April 1.
Cañeda said as seen from aerial view and was confirmed by forest guard volunteers on the ground, the fires in Mt. Nakalo in Barangay Sil-ipon, Libona; Sitio Kibenton in Brgy Impasug-ong; and Sitio Sanggaya in Brgy Dalwangan, Malaybalay are now contained.
“Contained fire means that there are no more flames, but there is still smoke coming from the burnt areas. The fires are not yet effectively put out. Fires may still recur, depending on the general wind direction, prevailing humidity and temperature, as what happened in some areas a few days back,” she said.
Unfortunately, six new fires were spotted in Brgy Lapoc, Talakag, and in Mt. Tago, Sitio Bundaan, Brgy Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong municipality in the Mt. Kalatungan range.
She said the reported fire were confirmed by Kalatungan Bantay Lasang Volunteers, a 50 person team who jumped off immediately to re-establish firelines, start suppression and mopping operations.
The 6 spotted fires in Mt. Kalatungan protected zone, occured in Sitios Salsalan, Anlagan, Mapayag in Brgy Lapoc and Brgy Lirongan, all in Talakag municipality.
One volunteer was confirmed injured and was immediately attended to by the rescue team at the command center, in Brgy Lapoc, Talakag, staffed by Cenro personnel.
This information generated by aerial observation, triangulated with the data from DENR and the LGUs on the ground reinforces the urgent needs for putting out the multiple fires before they intensify, spread to other areas in the mountain ranges, and before they become uncontrollable.
The sheer vastness of the mountain ranges and distances of the fires is the major challenge for fire suppression. The team recommends that in order to effectively put out the fires, at least two choppers and one Cessna plane for aerial support in logistics, the movement of fire-fighters, volunteers, equipment, water and other materials between fire areas and re-supply center.
The interagency reconnaissance team comprised of DENR ARD Felix Mirasol, PASU Daniel Somera, Mr Edgardo Agbayani, 10th TOG Group Commander Col Leo Fontanilla, MSgt Abel Idusma, Philippine Army pilots CPT Arthur Borromeo and CPT Conny Amor Bartolome, BFP CInsp Franklin O. Ratunil, PIA Elaine Ratunil with Zener Dumaguing, and Dir Ana Cañeda.
The air support was provided by the Eastmincom, facilitated by the OCD Office of the Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director Usec. Alexander P. Pama, thru the OCD Operations Division and NDRRM Service.