Salceda: ‘God took care’ of Albay forest fire

Salceda: ‘God took care’ of Albay forest fire

06 August 2014

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Philippines — What the Philippine Air Force (PAF) special helicopter called “bambi bucket” could not stop, the rains did.

“God took care of the cloud seeding,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said of the rain that poured on Tuesday morning over Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay province where a forest fire had razed 2,000 hectares of grasslands and forced the evacuation of over 3,000 families, or 17,000 persons.

The forest fire in Rapu-Rapu could have been raging and spreading for the fifth day on Tuesday had it not rained.

Salceda noted that the PAF helicopter bucket, called “bambi,” had already used up 45,000 liters of water on its second day of operation on Monday but was still unable to control the fire.

He said authorities were considering cloud-seeding operations but could not immediately find a plane that would do it.

Salceda declared the “crisis is over” when the downpour came.

Rapu-Rapu Vice Mayor Nora Oñate, in a phone interview, said Bureau of Fire and Protection personnel were helping in the clearing operations.

On Tuesday, 2,362 families (11,122 persons) from the four villages of Morocborocan, Mananao, Buenavista and Guadalupe heeded orders from provincial authorities to evacuate due to the fire.

At least 1,285 families (5,953 persons) from Sitio Pitogo of Barangay (village) Poblacion were forcibly evacuated on Monday.

Another fire was also discovered late Monday at Mayon Volcano Natural Park in Lidong, Sto. Domingo town, town Mayor Herbie Aguas confirmed in a text message.

He said an estimated 5 to 10 ha had been burning “but there were no houses in the area.”

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has an existing order barring entry into the 6-kilometer danger zone around Mayon.

The fire in Lidong was also extinguished after the early morning rain on Tuesday.

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