A flaming ground reportedly happened near an abandoned warehouse at Purok 6, Brgy. Poblacion, Maasim, Sarangani. Residents, local leaders and the nearby communities were alarmed when fire suddenly broke out when the site was thrown an object. Some curious residents would force a stick and a flame would appear on the ground. Water was even sprayed but the flame would still appear. The most serious incident was when a senior citizen got his feet and hands burned when he stepped to collect wood in the area. This strange happening brought some of the residents to contemplate that a volcano was existing underneath while others theorized that it may be the cause of the El Ni?o phenomenon where most of the Southern and Central Mindanao are experiencing.
These incidents were circulated over the social media. The regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region XII Constancio A. Paye, Jr. immediately dispatched geologist Melvin C. Sebua to investigate the site. Sebua together with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Sarangani Province and the barangay chairman conducted an ocular inspection to determine the cause or source of the flame. TV Patrol Soccsksargen, a local broadcast media outfit of ABS-CBN joined to cover the investigation.
According to Sebua, the area is an abandoned disposal site of charcoal fines. Way back 2001 to 2008, charcoal fines were thrown in the area by the nearby warehouse producing charcoal briquettes. Through time, it has become compacted. And because of the extreme weather condition brought about by the dry spell, the charcoal fines were induced to emit smoke and show flame once ground is triggered or disturbed.
He explained further that the height of the disposal is one (1) meter and estimated to hold a volume of 400 cubic meters. He then recommended to continue with the spraying of water to reach the very deep portion for it to be wholly saturated. He pointed out that there is definitely no indication of volcanic activity in the area or deposit of coal. And since the area gathered many spectators, the local chiefs were advised to cordon the site to avoid any untoward incident.