MABINI- At least two grass fires were reported in this town, one of the severelyÂ Â affected by the dry spell inÂ Bohol. The grass fires damaged seven hectares of land and caused almost half-million pesos in damages.
The flames were first noticed by some residents in sitio Banlas in barangayÂ ConcepcionÂ Â at around 6 a.m. on Saturday,Â Â said the Mabini fire station staff.
The fire station staff Â admitted they were not able to respond immediately becauseÂ their office received the fire call by 9:40 a.m.
The flames spread quickly prompting the fire crews to call for help from the neighboring fire stations but it was the Jagna fire station responded the call to tackle the blaze.
The fire burnt easterly close to the property of Mabini Vice Mayor Juanito Jayoma. His three hectares land planted with fruit bearing trees—49 mango trees, 500 coconut trees— and 300 gmelina trees were burned that left an estimated P438,000 in damages, records of the Mabini Fire station showed.
Coconut trees of Alfredo Galulo planted in his one hectare land were razed by fire. However, Galulo has yet to submit the estimate damage to the fire station.
The 1.8 hectareÂ landÂ ofÂ Florenda VallespinÂ has 150 coconut trees and 50 banana plants were consumed by fire. She claimed an estimate damages at nearly P15,000, the fire station said.
Firefighters eventually left the scene at around 5 p.m. â€“ 8 hours after the initial call.
The Mabini Fire Station continues to look for the cause of the grass fire.
FO3 Leo PizaÃ±a, the Mabini fire marshal, said that based on their initial investigation, the flames spread after a smallÂ nipaÂ house wherevaquerosÂ gather during break was burned.
â€œThere is a possibility nga kadtong tapukanan sa tigtugway og baka didto nagsugud ang sunog based sa damage sa sunog (There is a possibility that the fire started at the place where herdsmen gather), â€ said PizaÃ±a. â€œWala ta kahibalo unsay nahitabo sa ilang pagtugway sa ilang baka or tingaliÂ Â naa bay naglabugÂ Â og sigarilyo or unsa kaha..ingana langÂ Â ang imbestigasyun pagkakarun (We donâ€™t know what happened when they took care of their cows, maybe someone throw his cigarette..itâ€™s our initial investigation).â€
Almost 25 hours after responding to the grass fire inÂ Concepcion, on Sunday, another grass fire occurred in half hectare of land in sitio Ilaja, in Minol, adjacent barangay ofÂ Concepcion.Â Â According to PizaÃ±a, the fire crewsÂ managed to stop the fire spreading for almost two hours. There were no reports of casualties or property damage.
According to some residents, spark of grass fires occasionally occur in the terrains of Mabini which started on the onset of the dry season.
Mabini Mayor Esther Fostanes-Tabigue confirmed that the severe dry weather had caused the grass fire.
â€œAbout the fire incident in Mabini, it was a grass fire. It occurs here during dry spell,â€ said Mayor Tabigue.
Tabigue said she could not determine whether the grass fires were intentional but noted that the mountains with driedÂ cogonÂ grass can easily cause fire due to the prevailing dry condition.
She said there were some grass fires that were traced to â€œkainginâ€ practice which is done Â to grow young weeds very fast for the cattle of some residents.
On the other hand, PizaÃ±aÂ advised residents to take precautions against grass fires this dry season.
The station through their information campaign informed residents not to throw cigarettes or bring match boxes Â near dried grass or trees in order not to start a fire especially the place is very dry. â€œ
Mabini town is one of the heavily affected by severe drought due to the mildÂ El NiÃ±o.Â Â Ricefields have dried up since January of this year since farmers relied on rainfed farming.
Although light to moderate rains were experienced by other towns inÂ BoholÂ Â lately, it was only last Monday that the town just experienced a light rainshowers for a very short time after months of drought.
Farmer Neil Ayag, 42, married, a resident of Minol is hoping that rain will come this week.
â€œKami karun sa Minol naghuwat mi kanus-a kami uwanun kay nangamatay na ang mga sagbut ug mga tanumÂ Â (For now, here in Minol we are for the rain to come because the grass and our plants have withered),â€ said Ayag.
Last Wednesday, some farmers were seen ploughing with their carabaos in preparation for the rainy season. (By Leo P. Udtohan)