BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Twelve fires razed nearly 900 hectares of land in Benguet, including forests and reforested areas in 8 areas in the province, an environment official reported to the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Thursday, February 27.
Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgardo Flor reported to the council that there were 12 “significant” fire incidents recorded in 8 of the 13 municipalities in Benguet, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Benguet said.
The fires, which include those that happened in January, affected a total area of 899.53 hectares, and caused an estimated P2.077 million in damage, the PIA report said.
Flor told the council that Kabayan town was the hardest hit by the fires, with 643.69 hectares of burnt forest land, including 191.54 hectares under the National Greening Program.
The environment official cited cattle rustling, slash and burn or kaingin, and negligence as the causes of the fires, adding that the dry weather and wind from the northeast monsoon aggravated the problem.
Flor also said firefighters and local volunteers encountered difficulties in putting out the fires, such as the mountainous terrain, steep slope, and absence of access roads, the PIA report said. – Rappler.com