Green spaces eyed against wildfires

April 23rd, 2016 by

DAVAO CITY – A leader of a fisherfolk association in Barangay 17-A, Bucana highlighted the importance of green spaces in communities, saying that urban tree cover can help mitigate sudden fire outbreaks in socialized housing settlements.

Speaking during an Earth Day forum organized by the Green Davao Coalition last April 21, 2016, Cora Refulle said that the presence of trees around her house has kept her family safe from floods and the recent spate of fires in the area.

1990s pa, natanum nako ug kahoy. Dako ang natabang ani sa pagprotekta sa akong balay sa baha ug sunog.”, she said.

Refulle, who is president of the Bucana Coastal Environment FisherFolk Association, said that during the fire outbreak, residents in areas which had trees, had more time to secure and save their things from the fire.

Apil man ko sa Philippine Coastguard Auxiliary ug nagtabang mi og respond sa sunog diri sa Bucana, Nakita nako nga ang naka-save sa ubang balay kay ang kahoy kay suyopon man niya ang kalayo.”, she said.

IDIS Executive Director Ann Fuertes said this is another strong reminder why the city council should maintain the 10% green space requirement in Davao City.

“In the context of fire control, having trees in around or nearby houses reduces the risk that fire will spread further from its point of origin. It also provides our firefighters additional cover to protect them while they are containing the fire.”, she pointed out.

2015 Lunhaw Awardee for Reforestation Initiatives Ric Obenza also said that planting non-resin trees in urban areas can also help in fire control and mitigation.

“Trees with resin, like pine trees, are very conducive to fire. This is one of the reasons that the fire spread rapidly in Mt. Apo. In subdivisions, non-resin trees should be planted, instead of pine trees, to help protect the homes from sudden fire outbreaks, especially in this time of climate change.”, he said.

He recommended tugas (Molave) , bignay (Currant berry tree) and guyabano (Soursop) trees for green spaces in subdivisions. “These are indigenous trees which will readily adapt to our local soil and climate.” , he said.

“Trees belonging to the genus Ficus family, like tubog and balite are also good for fire cover.”, he also added.

Around 80 participants from people’s organizations and civil society groups attended yesterday’s Earth Day forum which was supported by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), Go Organic Davao City (GoDC) and the Sanggunian Panglunsod. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Trees for the Earth”. ( Mindanao Times)