Firefighters battling Mexico wildfire visible from our border | Environment
Originally submitted by By Jonathon Shacat and Chuck Alton; With cooperation from Proyeccion news magazine in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico:
Strong wind gusts and remote terrain are hampering firefighters battling a wildfire affecting the Ajos Bavispe National Forest Reserve in northern Sonora, Mexico.
According to a press release dated Wednesday, June 19, from CONAFOR, Mexico's National Forestry Commission in Hermosillo, Sonora, the fire started Thursday, June 13, as a result of an electrical storm.
Manuel de Jesus Bustamante Sandoval, Sonora State Manager of CONAFOR, who oversees the affected area, said the fire became stronger due to forces generated by winds.
"The forest fire has advanced very quickly, unfortunately the fire is fueled by high temperatures, very low humidity levels, and strong gusts of wind of 20 to 40 kilometers per hour," he said.
Bustamante Sandoval said firefighters are confronted with inaccessible terrain and adverse topography with steep slopes, making it difficult to control the fire.
He said there are 60 firefighters from CONAFOR battling the blaze, including brigades from Cumpas, Imuris, Yecora, Nogales, and Mesa de Tres Rios, with assistance from the brigade from CONANP, as well as a helicopter with the capability of dumping 1,200 liters of water and fire retardant foam, plus carrying personnel, food and tools.
The fire is threatening a region that contains a naturally protected zone inhabited by species such as black bear, ocelot, eagles and jaguars, besides plants that are only found in Mexico.
In addition to this fire, there are six other fires that are affecting the municipalities of Alamos, Bacoachi, Nacozari de Garcia, Agua Prieta, Yecora and Sahuaripa. Alamos and Bacoachi are located in naturally protected zones.
According to Lt. Mark Perez of the Bisbee Fire Department, the fire visible from Bisbee is about 30 miles away and is not of concern due to the distance from the border and the relative inflammability of the desert vegetation. He said another fire spotted Tuesday, June 18, between Bisbee and Douglas is several miles into Mexico and apparently "layed down" last night, which means it is no longer spreading or building. Cochise County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Border Patrol are keeping an eye on that fire, but there are no concerns it will have any impact north of the border.