Fire spreads through grassland on Mount Masalukot in Quezon
LUCENA CITY, Quezon — An 18-hour fire destroyed more than 50 hectares of cogon land atop Mount Masalukot in Candelaria town in Quezon province but no one was reported hurt, an official of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said.
Fire Officer 3 Marx Pranada, chief of Forest Fire Protection-BFP Quezon, said the fire, which was reported around 1 p.m.Sunday, was put out at about 7 a.m. Monday.
Pranada said firemen from Candelaria and neighboring towns of Sariaya and Dolores have been monitoring the situation and would be ready to respond should another fire break out.
The blaze started in Barangay Pinagdanlayan and part of Barangay Cabatang in Dolores town and spread to other parts of Masalukot, Pranada said.
Salud Pangan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources park superintendent for the adjacent Mounts Banahaw and San Cristobal, said the Masalukot fire was far from the mountains.
Masalukot lies within the buffer zone of Banahaw and San Cristobal, both declared as protected landscapes.
“But we are not taking any chances. We’re doubling our efforts to protect Banahaw from another fire [that hit the area] in 2014,” Pangan said.
In May 2014, a forest fire damaged a portion of Banahaw and destroyed endangered plants and killed and displaced animals.
The fire on the western slope of the volcanic crater facing Sariaya town was believed to have been started by backpackers who ignored a ban on trekking within Banahaw.
In February this year, the Mounts Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape-Protected Area Management Board (MBSCPL-PAMB) decided to extend the mountain’s closure for three more years, or until February 2019, to protect the gains from years of reforestation and rehabilitation. SFM
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