Monday, February 15, 2010
Fire on the Mountain
After excessive rainfall during the numerous typhoons that swept through our island of Luzon during September and October, we are now experiencing drought. We have not had measurable rainfall since November. Large dust clouds now follow every vehicle that travels on the roads because the soil is so dry.
Of greater concern are the fires that seem to be burning on every mountain. As we have been traveling these past weekends, smoke can be seen in the distance in every direction. Usually, the fires are high on the mountains and away from villages and houses. The fires seem to be burning mostly small plants while the trees tend to be unaffected. But tonight, we noticed that things may be a little more serious now. Our barangay, Samoki, is experiencing some fires that could imperil a large number of homes on the side of the mountain. There is a fire on the mountain that is not higher than the homes and could easily spread into homes that are much too close together to prevent a large scale situation. Additionally, the part of the village that is most at risk is not accessible by either fire engines or water delivery trucks. Narrow foot paths wind between the houses with numerous steps and other obstacles that prevent anything but foot traffic. To make matters worse, the water shortage limits how often municipal water is available to the pipes used to supply households; there are no fire hydrants or other such considerations.
Looking the other direction, across the river into Bontoc, you can see fires burning on the mountain there also. Fortunately, these fires are well above most of the houses. There are still several houses in that area however. At the top of that mountain are the communications towers. If affected, the area could be isolated from internet and phone communications.
Please pray for our community as we await the return of the rains. Municipal water is scheduled. (We have water supply for 1 hour a day.) Springs that water delivery services are using are beginning to fail. Then, of course, there are the fires.