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KIDAPAWAN, Philippines – Mt Apo was cleared of climbers as of 6 pm on Sunday, March 27, following the fire that broke out near its summit on Black Saturday.
“We recorded 441 mountaineers, and out of that, 379 used the Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur trail to start their trek,” Kidapawan Tourism Officer Joey Recimilla told Rappler.
The mountaineers included more than 100 Boy Scouts.
As of Sunday afternoon, around 90 firemen and volunteers were still working to contain the fire at Mt Apo, the country’s highest peak.
“The disaster group from the city together with the Energy Development Council and other volunteers are now stationed at Lake Venado and Lake Maag,” Recimilla also said.
He added that Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista has provided food for the volunteers, but they need more support.
“We might need additional provisions because we don’t know until when will we stay in the camp base,” Remicillo explained.
Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the blaze, but some climbers claim that another group of mountaineers cooked along the Davao del Sur trail and failed to put out the fire completely.
“May nakakuha ng video, may climbers na nag-luto gamit ang kahoy. ‘Yun ang sabi nila, may naka-video, iniwan nila ang apoy pero ‘di talaga eksaktong napatay ang kalayo,” mountaineer Sajid Mamadra told Rappler.
(Someone was able to take a video of a group of climbers cooking using firewood. That’s what they said, someone was able to take a video. The climbers left but supposedly failed to properly put out the fire.)
Mamadra also said that around 4 pm on Saturday, they were advised to immediately leave Lake Venado because the fire was spreading fast.
“Marami ang nag-panic nung nalaman at nakita na malaki na ang sunog,” he added.
(Many panicked when they learned about the fire and saw that it was already spreading fast.)
Recimilla said all climbers were advised to take the emergency exit in Kidapawan City as the Tinikaran Campsite of the Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur trail was already on fire. – Rappler.com