By KELIN DILLON
Between Jan. 1 and March 11 of this year, Mexico experienced its worst forest fires on record in the past decade, with 29,559 hectares of land affected by the flames in the two-month period.
Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (Conafor) reported the areas of the country most affected were the State of Mexico (Edoméx), with 5,596 hectares, Oaxaca, with 5,477 hectares, and Baja California, with 4,113 hectares of land afflicted by fire.
A reported 38 percent of all fires registered in the period were started by illegal activity.
The National Fire Management Center warned of a propensity for further fires in drought-affected regions, including the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Edoméx, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
The Map of Priority Areas for Protection against Forest Fires by the National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock Research (Inifap) reported 13 percent of the country’s surface is in a very high danger condition for forest fires.
The issue is exacerbated by the defunding of Conafor by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) after his assumption of office, slashing the forestry commission’s annual budget by 60 percent from 2018 to 2019, as well as cutting funding for temporary firefighters during the country’s peak forest fire season, leaving the nation, without its fire program at full force, vulnerable to the expanding flames.
…March 18, 2021