Salceda orders cloud seeding, forced evacuation, fire line defense in Albay

ALBAY—Governor Joey Salceda has announced the three-fold list of general strategies that the provincial government will undertake in response to the bush fire that broke out in Rapu-Rapu town yesterday.
Rapu-Rapu fire
Photo: Joey Sarte Salceda
Said strategies include the forced evacuation of the residents of Pitogo to Poblacion Main tonight, and the residents of Morocborocan, Mananao, Buenavista, and Guadalupe to Batan Island tomorrow.

A fire line defense of the village settlements will also be maintained by at least 1,000 firefighters, Salceda continued.

Lastly, cloud seeding operations will be conducted tomorrow.

Salceda added that the provincial government is anticipating that several health hazards due to the forest fire will be experienced by locals.

Among these are the aggravation of upper respiratory symptoms, infections especially for people with co-morbities like asthma, and water-borne diseases like diarrhea due to the possible contamination of the area's water source.

Vector-borne diseases and animal bites are likewise expected. 

Earlier today, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Bicol to mobilize resources to contain the bush fire.

The fire started at around 8 AM, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.

Some 6,000 hectares of forest and grasslands in the two islands of Rapu-Rapu were affected by the fire, the report indicated.

SC/Supt. Carlito Romero, BFP Chief, said 14 Forest Fire Protection Officers had already been deployed from Albay to comply with Roxas’ directive.

Romero said two Forest Fire Specialists who had been tasked to assume lead command at Rapu-Rapu Island had also boarded an Air Force plane with personnel from the Office of Civil Defense to conduct an aerial assessment of the affected area.

The team, he said, had recommended the deployment of bucket bomb or choppers with water buckets to help contain the bush fire.—With report from PNA/BICOLSTANDARD.COM