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Camp John Hay 'Forest bathing' site closed due to forest fire

 BAGUIO CITY — Baguio City’s famous “forest bathing” site at the yellow trail of Camp John Hay (CJH) was temporarily shut down after a blaze hit portions near the Voice of America (VOA) compound on Sunday morning.

The fire forced the management of the state-run John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) to appeal to the public not to go into the reservation's premises yet, especially the areas that was affected by the bush and forest fire that apparently started on Saturday night and got bigger in the early Sunday morning. 

"John Hay Management Corporation requests no entry to the areas affected by fire for safety reasons. This will also enable our firemen to perform their duties and contain the fire," the JHMC management said in its advisory.

Zyrell del Prado,  JHMC information office, however, said that the management only detected the fire at around 3 a.m. on Sunday. With the immediate response of firefighters from the nearby Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and various water delivery services that provided water to douse the fire, the forest fire was declared “fire out” five hours later, hence preventing additional damage and destruction.

Parado added that there is an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the forest fire and they are waiting for the official report. 

“So that JHMC can prevent similar incidents from happening in the future”.

Aside from the Camp John Hay fire, the forest fire that hit Mt. Sto Tomas in Tuba, Benguet and portions along the Baguio City side was already declared out of further danger. 

The fire reportedly started on Feb. 7, 2024 and burned almost two hectares of the forest reservation.

Meanwhile, a portion of the Marlboro Camp Site along the Akiki Trail of Mt. Pulag in Kabayan, Benguet was also gutted by fire that started early Monday morning.

Firefighters and forest rangers have difficulty suppressing the fire, whose damage is yet to be determined.

Despite the fire, however,  tourists and adventurists braved to reach the peak of the highest mountain in Luzon and second highest mountain of the country.

They braved the smoke and the possible danger and rushed to Mt. Pulag’s peak through the Akiki Trail, considered as