Mt. Talinis in Negros Oriental closed to public over fire fears
(The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2016 - 7:11pm

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines (Negros Chronicle) - The fear of forest fires has dampened the summer spirit on towering Mount Talinis as town authorities of Valencia have decided to close the popular hiking destination to tourists.

The mountain is now off limits to all climbers, trekkers and campers until June because of an executive order issued by Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves earlier this month.

Teves cited the need to stay alert and to adopt precautionary measures to prevent fires, especially in forested areas, during the dry season.

PAGASA has listed Negros Oriental as one of 23 provinces experiencing drought after a 60-percent reduction in the average rainfall in the past three months.

Teves has directed barangay officials to impose and follow the precautionary measures prohibiting activities such as mountainclimbing and trekking since campfires that are left unattended, burning debris and improperly discarded cigarettes can start fires.

The open burning of solid waste as well as slash-and-burn activities are also prohibited by the Solid Waste Management Act.

FO3 Gil Emia of the Bureau of Fire Protection confirmed an increase in grass fires in Dumaguete City, Dauin and Bacong.

In fact, a panicked neighborhood asked for assistance after an attempt to clear a vacant lot near Foundation University High School resulted in a fire that almost went out of control. Firefighters rushed to control the growing blaze since the area was beside a gasoline station.

Negros Oriental is one of only two provinces in the Visayas that is experiencing drought, the other being Siquijor. Some 20 provinces in Mindanao are also experiencing drought.

After fires also broke out in the city dumpsite, a huge water tanker has been stationed nearby to promptly extinguish any blaze. It has been noted that the mountain-high garbage in the dump is prone to catching fire because of small quantities of methane produced by rotting garbage.

The last time a fire broke out at the dumpsite, the undermanned and insufficiently equipped City Fire Station had to send in firefighters to the dumpsite with only surgical masks to protect them from the smoke and smell of burning garbage. - Dems Demecillo/Negros Chronicle

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