Wildfire razes 500 hectares of dry grassland on Mt. Asog

Wildfire razes 500 hectares of dry grassland on Mt. Asog

19 February 2010

published by newsinfo.inquirer.net

Philippines —  Amid the dry spell, a wildfire swept through 500 hectares of grassland and shrubbery on the flanks of Mt. Asog in Camarines Sur before it was controlled on Wednesday midnight.

The 1,140-meter-high Asog is an active volcano and straddles Buhi town and Iriga City.

“The direct cause of the fire is still unknown, although initial investigation points to human activities in Mt. Asog, including those of wild pig poachers and honey gatherers. Although the wildfire was aggravated by the dry spell, it (dry spell) is not seen as the direct cause of the fire,” Chief Insp. Juan B. Paz, fire marshal of Iriga, said yesterday.

Iriga Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, however, said kaingineros (slash-and-burn farmers) started the fire, which spread on dry weeds.

Paz said the wildfire had threatened farming areas on the lower slopes of the mountain, especially those in Barangays Santiago and Sta. Elena.

In 2007, a wildfire occurred on the slopes of the mountain during a mild El Niño phenomenon, Paz said.

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