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Mt. Apo park to remain closed until April 30

MANILA, Philippines — The Mt. Apo Natural Park will remain closed to trekkers and other visitors until the end of this month.

The closure is “in response to the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, which has led to a prolonged dry spell and increased the risk of wildfires, threatening the park’s diverse ecosystems and the safety of visitors,” a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Davao office read.

The DENR initially announced the closure of the park from March 20 to 30 to mitigate the risk of bushfires.

The closure was pursuant to a resolution released by the executive committee of the Mt. Apo Natural Park-Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).

The PAMB said it is ”dedicated to safeguarding the rich biodiversity of Mt. Apo and ensuring the well-being of all visitors.”

It said the extension of the closure is essential for the protection of the park and its inhabitants.

Last month, a forested area in Magpet, North Cotabato at the foot of Mt. Apo was razed by fire. Nearby Arakan town was hit by grass fires.

The PAMB advised trekkers and mountaineers who have planned excursions during the closure period to contact their respective organizers to reschedule their climbs.