DARAGA, ALBAY: A seven-hour fire destroyed 15 hectares of forest on the slopes of Mount Mayon on Tuesday night here.
The incident happened at about 8 p.m. while Albay government officials were hosting a farewell dinner to delegates of the 26th United Nations World Organization (UNWTO) joint meeting of the Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP).
Foreign and local guests were enjoying the “Turtilla Night” party held in the historic Daraga church on top of the hill when they noticed the fire which was said to be caused by kaingin (burn and slash) scheme used by upland farmers.
The Office of Civil Defense and Bureau of Fire Protection said the fire was contained at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
Initial report said that the forest fire destroyed the government’s reforestation at the upper portion of Barangay Bonga, Legazpi City about a kilometer away from a residential area.
Gov. Joey Salceda, who is currently in South Korea presiding the 7th Green Climate Fund meeting, told The Manila Times that the forest fire was aggravated by higher than normal temperature and low precipitation.
“Initial suspicion is kaingin system that led to wildfire. No residence was threatened,” the governor said.