Looks like adventure junkies and thrill-seekers alike traveling to or around the Philippines, would have to postpone their planned hikes up to Mt. Pulag as it has been declared an off-limits zone for a while. Due to forest fires that took place in the surrounding area of Benguet, specifically in Kabayan Town.
At 2,922 meters above sea level, a part of Benguet straddles parts of Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, has been shut down for a while as the famous mountain trail, called the Akika trail has been compromised by the height of the fires, making the paths unclear and dangerous as some parts have been ravaged by the fires, needing some time to rejuvenate.
According to Inquirer, the fire started spreading from Barangay Achokey close to the Lower Agno River Basin watershed and was put out last 18th of February, but the impact of the fire has severely damaged the trails and surrounding areas, evacuating some locals who live in the area. Fire investigators reported that “community livelihood activities” could have been the main source of the blaze which led to the fires lasting for as long as five days, wrecking about 75 hectares of land.
There’s no telling how long it will take for the trails to reopen to the public soon, but for now, the closure will give the devastated areas time to naturally heal. With hopes of rains to come in, the recovery could potentially be quicker than expected.