As 14 forest fires burn out of control in Oaxaca — one has burned through 1,000 hectares of pine forest in the Chimalapas jungle — Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat has called on the federal government to declare an emergency.
In a press conference on Monday, Murat said the state government has reached the limit of its ability to fight the fires and asked the federal government for additional equipment and resources to limit the damage being caused.
He said Oaxaca has seen 172 forest fires destroy 9,196 hectares so far this year. Last year, the state was ravaged by 129 fires that burned 19,600 hectares.
State Forestry Commission director Aarón Juárez said the fires are being fought along five major fronts at Cerro La Fortuna, Cerro Azul, Monte Ricos, San Miguel Chimalapa near the Oaxaca-Chiapas border and near El Mirador.
Serious fires have also been reported near San Pedro El Alto, Zimatlán, La Carbonera, San Pedro Tezocoalco, San Pedro Tenango, San Pedro Quiatoni and San Pedro Teituila. The director added that the areas that have been most affected are the Mixteca region, the central valleys and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Juárez said 100 state and federal firefighters are working to control the 14 wildfires, but the intensity of the fires, bolstered by hot weather, have made it hard for such a small force to be effective. As well, high winds have limited the state’s ability to use helicopters against the fires.