Grass fire hits Mt. Piapayungan in Lanao del Sur
ILIGAN CITY – A grass fire that started on Thursday evening amid the onslaught of the El Niño phenomenon continues to spread in Mt. Piagayungan (also known Mt. Piapayungan) in Lanao del Sur, sources said Friday.
Jennie Alonto Tamano, Lanao del Sur provincial information officer, said the grass fire was closest to Barangay Sandar in Butig town.
Drieza Liningding, secretary general of the Bangsamoro Movement for Peace and Development in the province, said the fire has already affected a vast portion of the lower peak of the mountain and continues to spread as of Friday noon.
He said residents were apprehensive as they could see from afar what appears to be lava, which moves down the slopes of the mountain. Mt. Piagayungan is adjacent to Mt. Makaturing, an active volcano.
Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said he has directed the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council and the provincial environment officer to verify the situation in Butig.
He also said reports of lava-like sightings have yet to be verified.
Tamano said based on initial assessment, at least two square kilometers of grassland areas had already been affected by the fire.
She said the affected area has no inhabitant and is far from any community.
Prof. Manny Cabido of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), described Mt. Piagayungan – which is on the borders of North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur – as one of the sanctuaries of Philippine Eagle and other wildlife species in Mindanao.
He said Mt. Piagayungan is considered the fifth highest peak in the country, measuring 2,894 meters above sea level. CDG
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