Wildfires raging in central and southern Mexico

Firefighters in Mexico City reported that they had fought 23 fires in 11 boroughs so far

Wildfires raging in central and southern Mexico
From January 1 to May 9 last year, there were 5,122 fires, 697 more than those registered during the same period this year - Photo: Jorge Alvarado/EL UNIVERSAL
English 14/05/2019 16:30 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 16:30
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The State of Mexico, Mexico City, Puebla, and Tlaxcala are four of five states in central Mexico that have registered the highest number of wildfires so far this year: A total of 2,188 as of May 9, according to the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR).

In total, the commission registered 4,425 wildfires throughout the Mexican territory from January 1 to May 9, which have affected 377,952 acres of land. However, around 94% of said surface corresponds to herb layers and pastures while only 6% included trees.

In a counting conducted by EL UNIVERSAL, at least 108 active fires were reported in 17 states: There were 14 in Guerrero; 13 in Oaxaca; 12 in the State of Mexico; 11 in Veracruz; 10 in Michoacán; nine in Puebla; nine in Chiapas; six in Jalisco; another six in Chihuahua; four in Mexico City; two in Tamaulipas; two in Hidalgo; two in Guanajuato; two in Yucatán; one in Aguascalientes, and another in Querétaro.

However, the report issued by CONAFOR at 10:00 p.m. yesterday only accounted for 74 active fires in 18 states, out of which 32 had already been controlled.

The most affected

In the State of Mexico, there were at least 12 active wildfires as of yesterday in 11 municipalities, including Valle de Bravo, Joquicingo, Cuautitlán Izcalli, Tultitlán, Atizapán de Zaragoza, and Naucalpan.

Yesterday, Huixquilucan experienced its fifth consecutive day with wildfires “the likes of which we have never seen,” stated local mayor Enrique Vargas del Villar.

Firefighters in Mexico City reported that they had fought 23 fires in 11 boroughs, out of which 16 were forest fires and seven were urban. As of last night, four fires were in process of extinction.

So far this year, Oaxaca has registered 246 wildfires, out of which 13 were still active as of yesterday.

In the state of Guerrero, 140 fires were registered as of May 9, which have damaged more than 42,000 acres across every region.

Not an uncommon issue

David León, national coordinator of Civil Protection, said in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL that the number of fires that have been registered throughout the Mexican territory this year fall within the norm, since another 7,000 fires were reported in 2018.

From January 1 to May 9 last year, there were 5,122 fires, 697 more than those registered during the same period this year, affecting more than 528,805 acres.

As for the most common factors causing them, “nine out of every 10 fires are caused by human activity and carelessness,” he stated.

In the past 20 years, 41% of wildfires were caused by the burning of lots that jumped out of control and another 10% were caused by cigarette butts.

The expert also admitted that high temperatures were an important factor when combined with strong winds and a lack of humidity.

There are at least 7,500 people in the country working to control and put out the fires.
 

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