Fueled by high temperatures and the Santa Ana winds, around 24 separate fires were burning Tuesday afternoon in Tijuana, Baja California, one of which claimed the lives of two soldiers in the Aguaje de la Tuna area of the border city.
Authorities say a man has been arrested for burning copper near the area, the location of military barracks, where the two men were killed.
Firefighters from 17 different stations took part in extinguishing yesterday’s blazes scattered around the city of more than 2 million.
In the Las Cruces neighborhood, fires that began in fields spread quickly and 300 homes were evacuated. Families were also evacuated from the Torres del Lago subdivision as their homes were threatened by a fire on the hillside near the Alamar Expressway.
Near San Antonio de los Buenos, smoke reached the Rosas Magallón bypass and slowed traffic due to poor visibility.
Fire department officials say the main problem they are facing in fighting the fires is a lack of water and scarcity of fire hydrants.
As temperatures are expected to reach 31 C and the dry Santa Ana winds continue today, fire officials asked Tijuana residents to avoid lighting bonfires and throwing matches or cigarette butts in grassy areas and urged residents to report all fires to 911.