The fire Monday night in Tepoztlán. The fire Monday night in Tepoztlán.

Forest fire in Morelos continues to spread; 180 hectares affected

The fire in Tepoztlán is 20% under control

A forest fire in the hills of Tepoztlán, Morelos, has hospitalized six firefighters, one with third degree burns.

The fire has grown to affect 180 hectares and is the largest on record in the area.

Environmental emergencies chief Raymundo Rosales Martínez said 244 firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, which could continue to burn for another six days due to adverse weather conditions. Three helicopters are also helping to tackle the blaze.

“We have 20% control but it grew exponentially even when we were working against it … This fire is bigger and has behaved much more aggressively than those in the past. The ones before had an average of 80, 120, 160 hectares, but this one is already at 180 hectares, and we might end up with another 50 hectares affected,” Rosales said.

State Civil Protection coordinator Enrique Clement Gallardo said the fire came within 300 meters of the community of San Juan Tlacotenco yesterday, but confirmed there was no longer any risk to the population.

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The closest populated area that could be in any danger is three kilometers away, he said, but was not currently at risk.

National Civil Protection head Laura Velázquez confirmed that the fire in Tepoztlán was one of the five biggest in the country, with other large scale fires in Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Guerrero.

“We are going through a moment of atypical dryness which is aggravating the situation,” Velázquez said.

There are 83 active fires in the country, affecting 23,000 hectares.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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