Sunday, June 23, 2024

Valle de Bravo wildfire now 60% contained, AMLO says

The brutal 2024 fire season continues to rage across Mexico with a recent wildfire menacing the Pueblo Mágico of Valle de Bravo in México state. Meanwhile, firemen continue fighting blazes in 20 states, according to the National Forestry Commission (Conafor).

On Sunday afternoon, Conafor reported that more than 3,800 firemen and emergency personnel were battling 142 forest fires that had already consumed more than 68,000 hectares (169,447 acres) of forest and brush.

And those figures do not include a conflagration that threatened a popular tourist and resort area in México state that was reported Sunday afternoon.

Residents of Valle de Bravo noticed heavy smoke coming from the nature reserve known as Cascada de Velo de Novia (Bridal Veil Falls) and notified Conafor. The authorities reacted quickly with rangers from Probosque, the state forest protection agency, arriving on scene along with members of the México state Civil Protection Ministry, as well as area fire brigades and Conafor agents.

Officials closed down the park, removing tourists and residents to safe zones and managed to prevent the fire from spreading into adjacent nature reserves and woodland.

In the meantime, area residents were posting images of the fire to social media with some reporting that Velo de Novia was still aglow around midnight.

President López Obrador briefly addressed the Valle de Bravo wildfire at his Monday morning press conference.
President López Obrador briefly addressed the Valle de Bravo forest fire at his Monday morning press conference. (Lopezobrador.org.mx)

President López Obrador announced that the Valle de Bravo forest fire was 60% contained at his Monday morning press conference, adding that it had affected 6 hectares and was not a threat to the population. Also on Monday, Probosque published a message on X (formerly Twitter) informing the public that the authorities were still working to suppress four fires in the Valle de Bravo area (Velo de Novia, Cualtenco, El Cerrillo and La Carreta).

In that same message, Probosque reported that officials are also battling four other fires at natural reserves in México state.

Conafor’s Sunday afternoon report revealed that of the 142 active forest fires across the nation, 20 are located in nature reserves.

The number of active forest fires has more than doubled since April 1 when Conafor reported that, after suppressing 39 fires throughout March, 69 fires were still ablaze across 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres). At the time, 2,800 firemen and emergency personnel were on the front lines as compared to the 3,864 on duty today.

Conafor had predicted an active and potentially explosive wildfire season this year, especially as 55% of the country was in drought conditions at the end of 2023. Then cold weather in January created large amounts of dry grass and conditions on the ground were exacerbated by record high temperatures in February and March that produced more fuel for fires.

The Valle de Bravo area was made more vulnerable by the drought conditions that reduced the Miguel Alemán reservoir to less than 29% capacity.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias, Enfoque Noticias, El Heraldo, El País and Plaza de Armas

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