Smoke in the northern Baja on the weekend. Smoke over Ensenada on the weekend. frontera

Northern Baja fires burn 3,500 hectares

Hot, windy, dry weather has helped the wildfires spread

A wildfire that started last Thursday in the Baja California municipality of Ensenada has already consumed 2,500 hectares while a second fire that started yesterday has burned through another thousand.

The first wildfire was reported in the ejidos, or community-owned lands, of Las Golondrinas and Piedras Gordas, triggering the evacuation of some 200 families, but not before three people suffered burns.

Ensenada Fire Chief José Guadalupe Marmolejo Ferrel said that of the 2,500 hectares consumed in the first fire “50 were mature trees, 1,500 chaparral shrub and 500 hectares were grasslands, although the damage assessment is still ongoing.”

Weather conditions over the weekend in the northern Baja peninsula were perfect for the propagation of wildfires: winds as strong as 35 kilometers per hour were coupled with temperatures that soared around 37 C and relative humidity of 16%.

Marmolejo said 52 firefighters from Ensenada and Tecate were deployed to control the wildfire, and were later joined by volunteers, ejido brigades and personnel from the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and National Forestry Commission (Conafor).

The evacuation of residents was carried out by the municipal public security office, whose officials warned residents outside the evacuation area, including the towns of El Tule, El Refugio, Ruiz Cortines and La Encantada, to be cautious for as long as the fire danger lasts.

Just as the fire that started Thursday was 30% contained, a second flared up yesterday in San Vicente, also within the Ensenada municipality, the fire chief said. The earliest reports are that an additional 1,000 hectares have been consumed by the second blaze.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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