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Fire destroys reforestation site in Zambales

/ 05:05 AM March 14, 2019

Firefighters could only watch helplessly from the foot of the Zambales Mountains as fire on Tuesday night ravaged a forest area and destroyed thousands of trees that had been planted in the government’s National Greening Program (NGP), authorities here said.

The site of the blaze straddles the towns of Mangatarem and Aguilar in Pangasinan province.

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Firefighters tried to go to the site but there was no access road. The fire was at the top of the mountain, said fire officer Alexander Beltran, Mangatarem fire chief.

The NGP, a massive reforestation project launched by the government in May 2011, aimed to plant 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares of public land from 2011 to 2016.

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As of 8 a.m. on Wednesday, smoke could still be seen billowing from the area. —Gabriel Cardinoza and Joanna Rose Aglibot

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