CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Apr) – After two weeks of continuous cloud seeding, rains finally blanketed Mt. Kitanglad, putting out the fires that threatened the 47,270-hectare national park in Bukidnon.
Office of Civil Defense region 10 spokesperson Titus Velez said they have declared that the fires that threatened Mt . Kitanglad range for two weeks were successfully suppressed thanks to the cloud seeding operations conducted by the Department of Agriculture.
“Surveillance flights made over Mt. Kitanglad over the weekend indicated there are no more signs of the grass fires. The planes did not anymore spot smoke on the mountain range,” he said.
Velez said the grass fires in neighboring Mt. Kalatungan have been contained, too.
He said the two-week cloud seeding operations by a Baron Beechcraft plane contracted by the DA was a big help in containing the fires in Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan.
“It rained continuously for two days and it was enough to put out the fire on Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan,” said Ma. Theresa Allen, provincial environment officer.
She said the rains came just in time before the fires can threaten the habitats of the Philippine Eagle in Mt. Dulang-dulang (in the Kitanglad range) and Lantapan, Bukidnon.
Allen said they are still making an assessment if the two-week grass fires did any damage to the two mountains’ wild life.
According to a 1996 study made by the Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology, 168 species of birds are found in Mt. Kitanglad. The group said 62 percent of the bird species are endemic to the area.
“Good thing that the fires only burned the buffer areas of Mt. Kitanglad. The fire did not reach the forest zones,” Allen said.
She said a total of 162 hectares of forest land was burned in Mt. Kitanglad and another 292 hectares in nearby Mt. Kalatungan.