By Priam Nepomuceno

FOREST FIRE RESPONSE. A Cessna LC-210 “Centurion” aircraft from the 900th Air Force Weather Group of the Philippine Air Force. The PAF on Wednesday (March 13, 2024) said the aircraft has been deployed for cloud seeding operations to contain forest fires in Benguet province. (Photo courtesy of the 900th Air Force Weather Group)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday announced that it has deployed a Cessna LC-210 “Centurion” aircraft for cloud seeding operations to help contain the ongoing forest fires in the province of Benguet.

In a statement, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said the aircraft from the 900th Air Force Weather Group has so far dispensed 1,200 kg. of salt in the ongoing cloud seeding operations since March 2.

The LC-210 can only be flown by a single pilot but can carry five passengers while reaching a maximum speed of 204 knots (235 miles per hour or 378 kilometers per hour) at a height of 17,000 ft (5,200 m).

These 1,200 kilograms of salt, contained in 48 sacks, were seeded all over Benguet.

“This ongoing cloud seeding operation aims to assist in containing the forest fire in the province, complementing the heli-bucket operations of the 505th Search and Rescue Group,” Castillo noted.

She said Tactical Operations Group 1 under the Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon has been coordinating with local government agencies to address these forest fires.

“The PAF remains committed to supporting firefighting efforts in Benguet.

“Cloud seeding operations will continue alongside the 505th Search and Rescue Group’s vital work to extinguish the blaze and protect the region’s natural resources,” Castillo noted. (PNA)