Fire razes 50-hectare forest area in Aurora
MANILA, Philippines – A fire razed over 50 hectares of forest area in Aurora province for 3 days until it was put under control on Friday, August 15, military officials said.
The Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) reported on Saturday, August 16, that the fire started on Wednesday night, at Sitio Diguisit, Barangay Zabali in the provincial capital of Baler.
Firefighters and rescuers found it difficult to reach the mountainside, where the fire raged, due to limited accessibility from vehicles on land. The area had a very steep slope, added the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its incident report.
On Friday, two Huey helicopters of the 505th Search and Rescue Group under the Philippine Air Force-Tactical Operations Group 3 flew from Camp Servillano Aquino in Tarlac City and did 3 sorties with 58 bambi buckets (or around 290 drums) of water to control the fire.
Aurora Governor Rommel Noveras, Office of Civil Defense Region III director Josefina Timoteo, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Glorioso Miranda, and 703rd Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Henry Sabarre conducted an aerial survey to validate the report and damages caused by the fire.
Heli-bucket operations over the area continued on Saturday, reported the NDRRMC.
Noveras has authorized the police to conduct an investigation of the incident. A team from the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army had also been deployed for disaster relief and rescue efforts.
Ecological damages from the fire cound not be determined as of this moment, said the Nolcom.
In March 2014, a forest fire on Mount Banahaw in neighboring Quezon province reduced 50 hectares of the mountain to ashes. – Rappler.com