Huge Forest Fires Wreck Playa Del Carmen UNESCO Reserve

This footage shows efforts to extinguish a huge wildfire which is burning through over 2,500 hectares of a UNESCO natural reserve just over one hour from Mexican Brit tourist spot Playa del Carmen.

The wildfire has burnt through forest in the natural biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, home to the British tourist hot spots including Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 

Video Credit: CEN/@SEDENAmxOficial

The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) has said that brigades are working in the area to put out the fire with the support of personnel from the National Defence Secretariat (Sedena) and brigades from the National Forestry Commission (Conafor).

The most serious fire is happening in an area of the reserve called “Zona Nucleo Muyil” and it started on the 9th of July. Its destructive power has forced personnel from the Mexican Air Force to become involved and use a helicopter to drop water onto the flames, as can be seen in the video.

Video Credit: CEN

The fire is still burning and weather conditions of 15-kph (9-mph) winds and low humidity mean it will be difficult to extinguish. 

Reports state 2,500 of the reserve declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1987 have already been affected by the main fire and firefighters are afraid that it will reach Muyi, a Mayan archaeological site close to Tulum. 

Credit: CEN/@CONANP_mx
The forest fire from the air

Sian Ka’an is reported to contain nine ecosystems, three aquatic habitats and 120 kilometres of the Mesoamerican Reef System. 

According to the authorities, only 10 percent of this fire is controlled and five percent has been extinguished as 59 people are fighting the fire with 39 of them on the ground. 

The smaller fire in the reserve is located in the area known as Sabana Chumpon. The Secretary of Ecology and Environment of Quintana Roo reported that the fire started on 5th July and the authorities say the fire is now 100 percent controlled and 90 percent extinguished after it burnt through 35 hectares.

The fires the come as National Forestry Commission (Conafor) has been hit by an austerity policy imposed by the new government and the institution has already dismissed more than ten people from its federal delegation.

Working in the area of the fire

The authorities involved in the fight against the accident have made a social media call asking for donations of equipment necessary to fight the fire. 

Reports state 37 fires caused by humans have been registered this year in the state of Quintana Roo.

There have been no reports of injuries in the fire.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Jonathan MaciasSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

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