Cancun, Q.R. — Firefighters with the National Forestry Commission say they have already battled 17 forest fires this season, adding that Cancun and Riviera Maya remain fire free.
In the first three-and-a-half months of the year, the National Forestry Commission of Quintana Roo has taken on mother nature in an attempt to quash more than 1,400 hectares of fires. The fire commission says that a majority of the fires were the result of agricultural burning.
Rafael León Negrete, manager of the National Forestry Commission in Quintana Roo, said that the fires that have battled so far this year have been accidental and there have not been any responsible arrests.
He reports that a total of 1,484 hectares have burned from the result of 17 fires that have occurred in the municipalities of Othón P. Blanco, Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Bacalar, Lázaro Cárdenas and Puerto Morelos.
Of them, León Negrete says the largest were in the southern areas of the state in Othón P. Blanco with 88 hectares and Bacalar with 163 hectares that took the effort of 40 firefighters.
“It will be a difficult season. We have a lot of work in the whole country, partners that are coordinating in all the regions, reinforcing the state control centers so that we can face what is expected.
“Currently, we have an army of 21,000 fighters, including volunteers throughout the country who are well-trained in forest fires,” he said.
According to last year’s statistics, the National Forestry Commission extinguished nearly 10,000 hectares of forest in the state of Quintana Roo, with nine of the state’s 11 municipalities reporting fires.
The municipality with the most fires last year was Othón P. Blanco where 22 of the state’s 62 fires were reported.
Alfredo Nolasco Morales, head of Fire Management with National Forestry Commission, indicated that the 2017 fire season was the third worst in Mexico along with the years of 1998 and 2011.
“Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacán, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa, have been the most active states where we had 16 firefighter deaths and 32 civilian victims,” he said.