Apo fire under control, but smoke still visible
DIGOS CITY—While authorities have announced that the fire that razed at least 300 hectares of grass and forest land on Mt. Apo is now under control, they could not declare a “fire out” due to smoke that continues to envelope some sections of the mountain.
Harry Camoro, spokesperson for the Davao Region Incident Management Team (DRIMT), said the smoke lingered because of embers in roots of burned trees.
Camoro said the number of volunteers sent to the Century Trail in Sta. Cruz town was down to 27. At least 240 others are staying at the base camp in Sitio Tumpis in Barangay Sibulan, also in Sta. Cruz, awaiting orders to respond to any emergency.
Rains induced by cloud-seeding operations helped quell the fire.
The Department of Agriculture, with the assistance of the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group (TOG), dropped 60 sacks of salt during cloud-seeding sorties in Calinan District in Davao City, Kidapawan town in North Cotabato province, and Mati City in Davao Oriental province.
The Air Force has suspended the dropping of sacks of crushed ice on affected areas because of poor weather conditions following the cloud-seeding operations.
Camoro said more volunteers were still needed for tree planting activities to be conducted immediately after the fire is finally put out.
The 2,854-meter Mt. Apo is the country’s highest peak and a favorite destination of mountaineers.
Climbers who have reached the peak can attest to its beauty, said Rye Glenn Trinidad, president of the Mindanao Mountaineering Federation. “Reaching the summit is a fulfillment of one’s dream,” he said.