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Multiple Fires Occur in Baguio and Benguet During the Hot Weather

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March is the National Fire Prevention Month and though Baguio, as well as Benguet, are known for their cool weather, the heat brought damage to them in the last 8 weeks in the form of forest and grass fires.

Photo from Ompon Tan

Recently, Pilando Center located at the heart of commerce in Baguio which is Magsaysay Ave., burned down. This happened on the late afternoon of March 26. On the night of March 20th, after a minor student witnessed two teenagers smoking at Purok 11 of Bakakeng Norte/Sur, a grass fire spread quickly, even though the witness tried to put it out as soon as it started.

This was mistaken at first to be a forest fire, since the location was at the foot of Mount Sto. Tomas. The biggest tragedy was the fire at the Baguio City Public Market last March 11, which turned everything into ashes. Even surrounding establishments, signages, and electric meters were not spared.

Photo from Baguio City PIO

During the last week of February 2023, there were a minimum of 6 forest and grass fires which occurred in different areas of Baguio and Benguet. These happened on: February 19 (Sitio Nalseb, Tublay, Benguet), February 20 (Barangay Dontogan), February 21 (South Drive, Baguio and Sitio Cawat, La Trinidad), February 22 (Bokod, Benguet and Loacan, Itogon, Benguet). The forest and grass fires are ‘reportedly’ caused by the absence of rain as well as easterly winds. These succeeded the February 14 disaster in Bontoc, Mountain Province where hectares of land were razed by two forest fires, one in Sitio Napu and the second one in Balitian.

Photo from Tublay BFP

Due to the Baguio City Public Market Fire’s casualties, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDDRMC) was urged to look over the possible recommendation of the declaration of state of calamity, which would help thousands of stall owners get back to their livelihoods and normal lives, little by little.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Tublay BFP

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