The fire on Mt. Apo that has been raging for several weeks now has been declared under control.
Local authorities announced that the fire is now under control, but they were quick to say that the fire is not completely out since thick smoke can still be observed in some sections of the mountains.
Aside from the efforts of the volunteers, the rain induced by cloud-seeding operations helped manage the fire.
Harry Camoro, spokesperson for the Davao Region Incident Management Team, said in an interview with the Inquirer that the number of volunteers is now down to 27, while at least 240 others are on stand-by for any emergencies at the base camp in Sitio Tumpis in Barangay Sibulan, Sta. Cruz.
Camoro said that the smoke that can still be seen in the mountain can be attributed to the embers found in roots of burned trees.
The fire, which started on March 26 near the peak of the mountain in the Davao del Sur province’s side, reportedly damaged about 300 hectares of forests and grass especially in the Southeast portion of Mt. Apo’s peak.
Looking forward to the rehabilitation of Mt. Apo, the authorities have asked the public for help in doing tree planting activities to be conducted after the fire is completely put out.
Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) proposed the temporary closure of Mt. Apo. In previous statements, the local government officials in turn have expressed support towards the proposal for a temporary closure of Mt. Apo to trekkers and other tourists over a period of at least three years, due to the extent of damage caused by the fire. The temporary closure is expected to give ample time for the forest to heal and recover.
Mt. Apo has an elevation of 2,954 metres, making it the highest peak in the country. In 1936, it was declared a national park by President Manuel L. Quezon. It was declared a Natural Park and a protected area with the approval of Republic Act 9237 in the year 2004.