Bush fire destroys 6,000 hectares of forest, grasslands
ALBAY, Philippines — At least 2,000 families were being evacuated on Sunday, after their homes were threatened by a bush fire that has so far razed over 6,000 hectares of forest and grasslands in Rapu-Rapu, Albay.
Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda said on Sunday he would ask the provincial board to declare a state of calamity in Rapu-Rapu as the bushfire threatened the mainland villages of Poblacion, Morocborocan, Sitio Acal Mananao, Mananao, Guadalupe, Buenavista occupied by approximately 5,000 households; and Sitio Minto, San Ramon, Batan Island.
“(I am) recommending to declare (a) state of calamity, (sending) helicopter bucket, activate evacuation centers, (and launch) community awareness,” Salceda said in a post Sunday at his official Facebook page.
The governor said assessment report indicated that ‘kaingin’ (slash and burn farming) was the possible cause of the bushfire that was first reported at 9 a.m. Sunday.
So far, 2,065 families have been affected and have been organized for evacuation.
The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), through Salceda, has ordered the town officials of Rapu-Rapu and barangays facing the threat to activate the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) on a 24-hour operation in order to intensify monitoring and preparedness and to prepare the evacuation sites.
A Philippine Air Force’s Huey 2 with bumby bucket arrived at 4:30 p.m., equipped with a carrier filled with water that would be dropped in the burning area, said Major Arvin Joel Buan, deputy group commander of the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group 5 (TOG5) based in Legazpi City.
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