Forest fire in northern Philippines kills 5

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MANILA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Authorities have found the bodies of four forest rangers and a farmer who died when wildfire engulfed a large forest area in Benguet province in the northern Philippines on Wednesday, Philippine authorities said on Thursday.

Wednesday's fire destroyed some 60 hectares of forest, according to authorities. It was put out around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Police said the dead, all male, were trying to help control the fire.

Many decades-old trees were also destroyed by the fire, police said.

On Thursday, police said another fire engulfed a forest area in Itogon, Benguet province, forcing the Philippine Air Force to dispatch a rescue helicopter to help put out the fire which struck the area below Mt. Ulap, a popular trekking site, and spread near a local high school.

Police said no casualties have been reported from Thursday's fire. Firefighters are still working to control the fire as of 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Police blame the blaze on farmers who are into slash-and-burn farming, a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest. Enditem

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