MEXICO – Due to the impact of two hurricanes last year, tons of organic waste remain on the jungle floor of the island.
Cozumel presents a high risk of registering forest fires this year, due to the fact that thousands of tons of organic waste are deposited in the soils of the jungle, as a result of the impact of the two hurricanes in 2020.
Armina González Castrejón, head of the Department of Restoration and Protection of the National Forestry Commission (Conafor), stressed the need to be alert so that the 14-year streak without forest fires is not broken for the island of Cozumel.
In Quintana Roo last year 41,678 hectares were burned in 68 different fires, The municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto alone registered more than 10,000 hectares.
Environmentalist Guadalupe Álvarez Chulin Viuda de Azueta highlighted that a forest-type fire on the island of swallows would significantly impact ecosystems since there are endemic species. “This means that they cannot be found anywhere else in the world,” he warned.
Experts from the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have warned that the accelerated destruction of the natural habitat on the island, as a result of human activities, caused a decrease in the population of more than 70% of the species.
This year, if a forest fire does not occur, Cozumel will celebrate 15 years without registering a jungle forest burn.
The installation of the Specialized Operational Committee in Prevention and Fighting of Forest Fires 2021 took place on March 4 in the Cozumel municipal palace.
However, during this event, no details were given of the logistics or response capacity of the armed forces to support the population in case of an event of this nature.
“Starting a fire is a federal crime that is contemplated by the General Law for Sustainable Forestry Development,” González Castrejón explained, adding that Conafor has a staff of 135 firefighters, four of them women.
Quintana Roo is in the first zone that the National Forestry Commission considers for the months of January to June for the center, north, northeast, south, and southeast of the country. The second includes the northwestern states and runs from May to September each year.