Forest fire kills at least 5 in Itogon, Benguet

22 February 2019

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PHILIPPINES – At least five people were killed a forest fire that hit the town of Itogon, Benguet on Wednesday, according to a report a report on Saksi.

In an interview with GMA’s Pia Arcangel and Arnold Clavio, Fire Inspector Nestor Gorio said they are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

But based on initial investigation, the fire was caused by farmers that employ the Kaingin technique in which a parcel of land is cleared by slashing, burning underbush and trees and plowing the ashes under for fertilizer.

Gorio said the fatalities are employees of Philex Mining Corp. and that they may have been trying to put out the fire.

According to a report on super Radyo’s dzBB, Itogon Mayor Victor Palangdan said the fire started in Barangay Ampucao at around 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Police, firefighters and additional personnel from the Philex Mining have responded to the incident.

In a news release, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said it had to launch an aircraft and a bambi bucket to keep the massive blaze that hit the Barangay Ampucao from spreading to surrounding areas.

The Air Force’s 505th Search and Rescue Group also led an aerial reconnaissance and rapid disaster assessment and needs analysis on the affected area. — Margaret Claire Layug/BAP, GMA News

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