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Fire hits N. Cotabato sugarcane plantations

Local News • 13:00 PM Tue Feb 2, 2016
Edwin Fernandez

CITY -– More than P1million worth of sugarcane plantations were turned to ashes in a forest
fire that hit two North Cotabato towns Sunday in what authorities believed by
cigarettes thrown carelessly by smokers, fire officials said.

first fire hit a more than two-hectare sugarcane plantation in Barangay
Ladtingan, Pikit, North Cotabato, according to Senior Fire Officer SFO4 Ricardo
Chekarin of Pikit Bureau of Fire Protection.He
said the fire believed to have been triggered by lighted cigarette thrown by an
unidentified smoker in dried grass beside the plantation at about 10 a.m.Almost
at the same time, another grass fire hit a sugarcane plantation in Barangay
Kilada, Matalam, North Cotabato.
to North Cotabato Fire Marshall Chief Inspector Ibrahim Guiamelon, the grass
fire quickly spread to a nearby sugarcane plantation.
fighters successfully prevented the fire to reach residential areas in the
said more than Php400,000 worth of sugarcane plants were destroyed in the
2-hectare forest fire.Guiamelon
has appealed to the public, especially smokers, to avoid throwing light
cigarettes because the surrounding is considered flammable due to the dry
are also advised to take extra care in setting on fire garbage because it may
trigger grass fire. In
Lanao del Sur, the grass fire that hit several hectares of forests in the
mountains of Butig were intentional, according to Sec. Kahal Kedtag of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM)Kedtag
told reporters the bush fire was intentionally carried out by owners to save
cost in cutting cogon grass.
appealed to lot owners in the region to do away with the traditional Kaingin”
(slash and burn) system because it is very dangerous with the dry spell at its
peak in the region. The
provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi that
composed ARMM are among the areas identified by state weather bureau to
experience extreme heat during the first quarter of 2016.

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