Mt. Pulag forest fire

A few weeks ago, a portion of Mt. Pulag National Park caught fire after a butane stove from one of the campers accidentally exploded. Hiking and camping in the park has since been suspended, and those responsible have been sued and threatened with an PhP18.4 million (US$ 350,000) fine plus possible jail time.

Using Sentinel-2 satellite data downloaded from the Copernicus Open Access Hub, we can clearly see the burn scar from the fire in the Saddle Camp area. For comparison, below are images from Google Earth dated January 8, 2014 and a natural color composite generated from Sentinel-2 data. About 5.6 hectares of land area was burned, which is about 2.5% of the approximately 227-hectare grassland area.

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It doesn’t sound a lot, but I think 2.5% is still significant, especially given that Mt. Pulag is home to the greater dwarf cloud rat (Carpomys melanurus), a species last seen in 1896 and was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2008. Right now, the IUCN includes the greater dwarf cloud rat in its Red List of Threatened Species. I hope Mt. Pulag recovers soon.

Click the following links for the Google Earth files (in kmz format) for the natural color composite and false color composite (that emphasizes the burn scar).

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