An area of 2,500 hectares (6,000 acres) has been affected by the fire in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the state of Quintana Roo. The vegetation has been quickly consumed by the prolonged drought, said Gonzalo Merediz Alonso, executive director of Amigos de Sian Ka’an and Ramón Castillo Carballo, Legal deputy of the State Management of the National Forestry Commission (Conafor).
Merediz Alonso, who lamented the current situation in a reserve that is a world heritage site and that generates many benefits for the communities of the area, said that, apparently, furtive hunters caused the disaster, something that frequently happens in Quintana Roo.
“It is a common practice by illegal hunters to set fire to the forest so they can spot the deer. However, it seems that this time the situation got out of control, “he said.
“Besides, this year’s drought, has favored the spread of the fire, “he added.
The fire continues and it is very difficult to combat due to the drought conditions and in a complicated ecosystem.
The official also said:”If someone provoked this fire, it is a crime, and the people responsible should be punished. The Sian Ka’an reserve is an important development tool and it is necessary to take the necessary preventive measures to prevent these damages”.
For his part, Castillo Carballo said that the area affected by the fire burned eight years ago, when 3,000 hectares were consumed, and stressed that in the south-southeast area of the reserve the flames are dying out.
“We hope it continues like this, but as a preventive measure we are opening firebreaks, so that in a week we would have control of the incident. What is burning is grass between 30 and 80 cm high. Depending on the speed of the wind, the flames can reach a height of between 3 and 5 meters, but they go out immediately, once the grass burns or when it reaches the jungle” the official concluded.
The government agencies colaborating to put out the fire are the Mexican Army (Sedena), the National Forest Commission (Conafor), and National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp).
The Yucatan Times Newsroom with information from Infoqroo