MT. APO CLOSING?
While a forest fire razes at Mt. Apo, the city government of Kidapawan is considering closing one of the trails this summer
Just as the fire prevention month kicked off, a forest fire in Mt. Apo along the boundaries between Arakan, Cotabato and Davao City erupted on Thursday, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) reported.
With this, the City Government of Kidapawan is studying whether to close the trail for summer months to protect it from the ill effects of El Niño.
Based on the statement of the City Information Office of Kidapawan issued on February 28, the City Tourism Council is just waiting for the decision of the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should it opt to close Mt. Apo from climbers.
This is part of their preventive measure to avoid similar fire incident in March 2016 which ate up about 115 hectares of forest and grassland, believed to be caused by irresponsible trekkers.
The forest fire this time reportedly started in Arakan, Cotabato.
“Bagamat bukas pa ang bundok sa mga climbers sa kasalukuyan, pinag-aaralan din kung lilimitahan ang bilang ng mga aakyat sa layuning makontrol ang dami ng climbers (lalo na yaong mga aakyat sa Semana Santa) at maiiwasan ang posibleng sunog,” the CIO added.
Officials of PMAB will convene on March 5 to discuss the possible closure of Mt. Apo.
The BFP has earlier warned that fire incidents will rise as the country would be experiencing extended El Niño phenomenon which poses high risk of forest fire.
“Patuloy na umiinit ang panahon at natutuyo na ang mga damo sa bundok na peligrosong magsanhi ng grass fire, ayon na rin sa otoridad. Kaugnay nito ay ipinag-utos na rin ni City Mayor Joseph Evangelista sa CDRRMO na pag-aralan ang pagpapalawak pa sa ‘fire line' sa Mt. Apo,” the statement read.
A fire line is currently identified to slow or stop the progress of fire in the country's highest peak that measures 10 kilometers and is 10 meters wide.
“Magiging mahirap para sa otoridad na apulahin ang sunog na maaring mangyayari sa bundok dahil na rin sa kapabayaan ng iilang climbers,” the CIO stated.
It can be recalled that all the trails leading to Mt. Apo were put under indefinite closure from all climbing activities under the En Banc Resolution 1 Series of 2016 but was reopened in April 2017 with stricter measures./