GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) urged residents to avoid burning garbage and other related activities due to the rising cases of grass fires here in the past two weeks.
A report from the BFP station here said at least four grass fires already occurred in parts of the city this month, affecting around 33 hectares of crop plantation as well as open and idle grassy areas.
The grass fires were recorded in portions of barangays City Heights, Mabuhay, Calumpang and Sinawal.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Melvin Brameda, fire and arson investigator, said residents should be extra cautious and avoid lighting a fire when clearing their surroundings.
He said they should also be careful when throwing cigarettes in grassy areas as these could cause fires due to the prevailing dry weather.
"We're already experiencing intense heat as early 8 a.m. right now and it's really a factor in terms of the occurrence of fires," he told reporters.
Brameda said the lack of rainfall the past weeks have rendered the grassy areas and farm lands arid, making them vulnerable to fires.
He cited the case of a farm in Barangay Sinawal, where around 20 hectares of sugarcane were damaged.
"The situation could worsen with the usual strong winds and could carry embers from burning garbage and grasses to the neighboring areas," he said.
An earlier advisory from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the prevailing warm weather in the area could intensify in the coming weeks due to a looming dry spell.
The dry conditions could reportedly last until the summer season, particularly in the months of March and April.
The area's temperature was recorded between 33 to 34 degrees Celsius the past days and forecasts showed that it could still increase to 35 degrees in the next few days. (PNA)