Geothermal plants safe from Mt. Apo fire

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THE Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC) on Monday said the Mt. Apo geothermal plants remain unaffected by the forest fire ravaging the mountain and are operating at normal levels.

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The fire is approximately 7 kilometers from the Mt. Apo Geothermal Business Unit’s perimeter.

“This is the third forest fire on Mt. Apo in 20 years and we are keenly aware of the fire risks at Mt. Apo when there is drought. Our forest protection rangers have the skills, equipment and training for this type of event,” EDC Business Unit Head James Villaroman said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

“Having planted over 2.5 million trees that we wish to nurture and protect, we proactively created layer upon layer upon layer of fire breaks in the forest just for this precise risk. Some of our fire breaks are over 20 meters wide, way over the global recommended practice. Protecting our asset is something we take very seriously,” Villaroman said.

As of press time, the fire on the Davao del Sur slope of Mt. Apo persists and is moving away from the EDC facilities.

EDC is closely monitoring the fire. Its emergency response team and fire fighting systems are in place and ready to take action in cooperation with local emergency services if the need arises.

“EDC forest patrols and aides together with the local government units of Kidapawan, Makilala and Magpet, and volunteers are still on alert,” EDC said.

“In the meantime that the risk is diminishing, they are widening and extending the firelines near the reforestation block of EDC as a risk mitigating measure. Aside from the efforts at the EDC reforestation area near the Mt. Apo peak, EDC also deployed members of its Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Response Unit to assist the groups handling the containment of the Mt. Apo fire,” the company said.

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