OCD Regional Director Ana CaƱedatook off in an army Cessna plane aerial inspection with interagency partners on 09 April, 2016 in Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan mountain ranges, all in Bukidnon, that are being affected by forest fires since 01 April 2016


First, the good news. The fires in MT Nakalo in Barangay Sil-ipon, Libona; SitioKibenton in BrgyImpasug-ong; and SitioSanggaya in BrgyDalwangan, Malaybalay are now contained, as seen from aerial view and confirmed by forest guard volunteers on the ground. 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.

Unfortunately, six new fires were spotted in BrgyLapoc, Talakag, and in Mt. Tago, SitioBundaan, BrgyDumalaguing, Impasug-ong municipality in the Mt. Kalatungan range. These were confirmed by KalatunganBantayLasang 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 SitiosSalsalan, Anlagan, Mapayag in BrgyLapoc and BrgyLirongan, Talakag municipality.

One volunteer was confirmed injured and was immediately attended to by the LGU rescue team at the command center, in BrgyLapoc, 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 Mr 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 Ms Elaine Ratunil with Mr Zener Dumaguing, and Dir Ana CaƱeda. 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.