BFP eyes ‘elite’ teams to battle forest fires

by Mar 20, 2024Featured Article, News

BAGUIO CITY—An elite team of firefighters may soon roam the country’s vast timberlands to battle forest fires, part of an evolving modernization program of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Louie Puracan, BFP national director, made the announcement on Tuesday after launching this year’s National Fire Olympics at Burnham Park here.

Over a thousand delegates from fire stations across the country participated in the 8th Skills Games, including highland firefighters who have been putting out pocket fires that have bedeviled Cordillera forests since the start of the year.

Puracan told reporters that President Marcos has directed the BFP to address the forest fires not just in the Cordillera but also those in “the Sierra Madre mountain range that extends as far as Aurora province and the Cotabato forests leading toward Mt. Apo in Mindanao.”

He said that under the BFP’S P10 billion modernization program, the agency would be able to install or upgrade fire stations, including in the 120 local governments that have no fire stations; and buy ambulances and other first response services in every town and city.

But experts are also planning the mobilization of specialized firefighter teams who are trained to combat wildfires in thick watersheds and woodlands, following a February consultation and training session with wildfire experts deployed by the United States Agency for International Development, Puracan said.