Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mt. Pulag Fire Burns Hectares of Grassland

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Here is the Press Release on the Mt. Pulag Fire from BFP-CAR Public Information Unit
"Fire started at Saddle Camp, Mt. Pulag National Park, Eddet, Kabayan, Benguet at around 3:00 PM, January 20, 2018. Tourist guides proceeded on site at 4:30 PM where they called Kabayan FS at 5:10 PM, the nearest fire station 46 kilometers away.

Firefighters arrived at the scene 7:10PM. They proceeded with suppression until the fire was under control 8:30PM. Fire Out was declared 9:15 PM. There were no injuries nor fatalities.

Upon initial assessment, more or less 1.5 hectares of grassland was burned, with a portable burner with butane canister suspected to be the origin of fire."

 The basic principle of the triangle of fire consists of oxygen, fuel, heat and chemical reaction. You just need to remove one to prevent starting a fire.

Heat= cool the materials
Fuel= remove fuel source
Oxygen = smother air supply.

Wait, there's one more thing, ..... Lack of common sense!

That's probably the cause of the fire at Mt. Pulag - lack of common sense on the proper procedures in dealing with nature.

The trend lately is to flaunt our accomplishments online. Damn the Facebook hiker(s)/FBneer(s). For the sake of being seen by our friends seen on social media, we endanger our world.

We should be responsible mountaineers/hikers/campers.

If you're planning to bring burners please make sure you know how to use them so you wont end up panicking and cause trouble.

If we don't know how to extinguish a simple burner. We better bring cooked food for our meals instead.

Due to our clumsiness and unpreparedness to act in a right way. The beautiful grasses and trees of a mountain suffer.

For hikers/campers it is essential for us to know or to be aware of hazardous things that we bring. We must know how to use it and how to keep it away from danger. And we must know also our responsibilities as visitor to a place.

Please leave Mt. Pulag clean during our stay, and as we leave. Or even if it's not clean when we arrive, we better clean it as well. The mountain has no janitors to clean our mess.

We are hoping for the fast recovery of the mountain grass. We salute the bravery of the fire fighters who extinguished the fire. Its not that easy to travel swiftly that 46km to reach that scene of fire.

Grass and Bamboo dwarfs can't be planted back anymore.. It was there for decades.. Best solution is to close the whole Pulag for Mountaineering for the meantime to give time for rehabilitation.. Plants will just grow up again..just give it time.. Maybe 2-5yrs.

Its obviously unintentional.  Yet the best way to punish those who are responsible for this is that they must PLANT what was burnt out,  probably start the project now and gather everyone they can to help and they must make sure that the plants are successfully growing in the affected parts of Mt. Pulag. It'll take time but its how they must repay it.

This supposedly accident goes to show that those responsible are NOT EXPERIENCED MOUNTAINEERS. They have no proper training or knowledge on what to do in situations like these.

Sadly, most of the people who climb mountains like Mt. Pulag are only there for the sake of "papogi" for their social media selfies and photo ops and similar reasons. In their sins the mountain have paid the price.

Respect nature and culture. Kindly be reminded that Mt. Pulag since time immemorial is the so called home of the gods and the final resting place of our ancestors.

It is hard for IPs to see that visitors and guests desecrate their hollowed grounds. They respect us as guests but please respect their culture, be responsible and considerate, considering the fact that they are sharing their way of life with you. Respect nature and culture. Kindly be reminded that Pulag since time immemorial is the home of the gods and the final resting place of their ancestors.

Be it known that Mt. Pulag is not only a mountain to climb. It is hollowed grounds. In Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankanaey culture that is the final resting place of their ancestors. They perform Canaos and many other rituals and sacrifices to lead them there. In their belief, Pulag is the eternal destiny where their ancestors will dwell and be reunited with all those who went ahead of them. Respect Pulag as they do.

Those who plan to visit Mt. Pulag will not be allowed to enter the area and will be directed to the Four Lakes instead, all mesmerizing and enchanting due to their sacredness especially Lake Ambulalacao.

The highlanders (Ibalois) believed that the spirits of their ancestors and loved ones dwell on these places. Therefore they have to preserve, protect and keep them clean. In fact, Lake Ambulalacao is several times awarded as the cleanest lake in the Cordillera Region and in 1995, it was labeled the cleanest inland lake in the Philippines.

I hope that the Four Lakes will not suffer the same fate as that of Mt. Pulag and that hikers will respect these sacred grounds.

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