Albay burning: Wildfire threatens forest zones of province


LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 8 — Several still uncontrolled forest fires rages in Albay as this story is being written. Ominous signs that challenges the touted disaster preparedness of the province.

The forest fire in Cagraray island in Bacacay town, which started two days ago in the mountainous area of Barangay Manaet, has spread to nearby villages of Tanagan and Namantao, displacing close to 100 families now.

Edwin Belano, barangay captain of Manaet, said the forest fire is getting bigger, fueled by strong wind.

“The forest fire is getting bigger and at an alarming stage now because it has spread already to neighboring villages due to strong wind. We’re doing now the ‘bayanihan’ system to contain the fire but it seems to be uncontrollable,” he said.

Many residences are threatened to be engulfed by the spreading wild fire while vast tracts of coconut plantation and karagumoy, indigenous materials for native bags, have been damaged.

The air foce bucket operations in Cagraray yesterday were halted temporarily as a result of an aircraft accident in Marawi City.

But on Friday, two air force Huey helicopters were given the green light to proceed with the bucket operations according to Bicol civil defense chief Raffy Alejandro.

“Also two RHIBs (rigid hull inflatable boats, 10-foot boats) from the Philippine Navy to support and augment firefighting operations of the local government unit and the Bureau of Fire Protection,” Alejandro said.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the forest fire in Cagraray island is sweeping closer to Barangays Manaet and Tanagan.

It is also observed to be raging with its big flames covering timberland while the river system cannot serve as a buffer zone to protect the population, according to the governor Joey Salceda.

While the forest fire in Cagraray island is getting bigger, other forest fires were reported in the geothermal towns of Tiwi and Manito. The fire in Tiwi has been observed to be moving towards the forest.

In Manito, planted trees in Cayabon Mountain are being engulfed by the flame right now while it is moving closer towards the Energy Development Corporation’s area.

The huge flames has already burned big trees, according to a report reaching the governor’s office here.

There is no population threatened as the fire moves far from the residential zones but the EDC has positioned one fire truck for contingency.

Earlier, the island town of Rapu-Rapu was also hit by a forest fire but it was contained three days ago due to heavy rain and continuous bucket operations of the Philippine Air Force.


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