A forest fire has claimed nine lives in an indigenous Mixteca community in Mexico’s southern Oaxaca state, the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) said on Monday, April 13.
The fire began on Thursday, April 9, in the rural village of Santiago Juxtlahuaca, but strong winds fanned the flames on Saturday, endangering the lives of residents in the neighboring community of Santos Reyes Tepejillo in western Oaxaca, the Conafor said in a statement.
“Windy weather conditions picked up, increasing the strength and size of the fire, which presumably led to the death of nine people from the community,” said the agency.
More than 260 residents of surrounding towns, soldiers, National Guard troops and volunteers are battling the blaze, which is 75 percent under control.
Santos Reyes Tepejillo is home to just 980 residents, most members of the Mixteca indigenous group.
Forest fires are common in the region at this time of year.