The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned smokers against throwing their cigarette butts on grassy areas that can catch flames and trigger serious fire incidents.
Sonny Pajarilla, PAGASA chief in Palawan, said cigarette butts can set off fires in grassy areas particularly during the summer because vegetations have an insufficient moisture content.
He said the “intensified” prevailing northeast monsoon or amihan can contribute to spreading the grassfire so smokers should be responsible enough in the proper disposal of their cigarette ends.
“Kahit na medyro green pa ‘yan, hindi rin ganoon ka-sufficient ang moisture content noon, mainitan lang ng minuto, natutuyo na rin siya agad. Liliyab na rin siya… kaya sana ay hindi magtapon ng upos ng sigarilyo sa mga lugar kung saan madamo at maraming tuyong dahon,” Pajarilla said.
According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Puerto Princesa City, the grassfire incidents that were recorded in the first two months of 2019 were higher than those in 2017 and 2018.
They occurred in Barangays San Jose, Sta. Lourdes, Sta. Monica and Sicsican.
Pajarilla warned further that if people continue to be unmindful of their actions, grassfire incidents may even increase during the months of March and April, the country’s summer season.
“Kung makita niyo ang ating mga kugon halimbawa dahil nga sa masyado na itong dry, madali siyang matuyo, kaunting ignition lang… magkaka-grassfire … itong mga nagtatapon, mga nagkakaingin plus mahangin, dapat mag-ingat tayo. So dahil mahangin, mas mabilis kumalat ang apoy dahil puro tuyo ang kapaligiran,” Pajarilla said.