Forest Brigades: Essential in the Prevention and Combat of Fires
18 febrero, 2019
The forest fire season in Mexico is divided into two, depending on the region of the country. The first extends from January to June and corresponds to the central, northern, northeastern, southern, and southeastern regions, while the second spans from May to September and applies to the northwest zone of our country.
Over 90% of forest fires are caused by human activities, with the main culprits being agricultural burns, discarded cigarette butts, and negligence in the use of campfires. These fires have a high impact on forests and their biodiversity, affecting flora, fauna, and people. In Mexico alone, in 2017, there were 8,896 forest fires recorded in all 32 states, affecting an area of 726,361 hectares. The five states with the highest number of fires in 2017 were the State of Mexico, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Jalisco, and Mexico City.
As part of the prevention and combat of forest fires, two very important activities are carried out: the opening and rehabilitation of firebreaks. A firebreak is a practice where a strip is created between combustible material to isolate the fire in areas where the highest number of fires has occurred. These firebreaks require maintenance to remain clean, so rehabilitation involves removing all vegetative material down to the mineral soil.
Rural or community brigades engage in activities for the prevention and combat of fires. At Reforestamos, we support and coordinate community forest brigades in various states such as Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro, the State of Mexico, Puebla, and Nuevo León.
Our brigades perform activities such as opening and rehabilitating firebreaks, as well as maintenance of reforestations, weed control, pruning, fertilization, thinning, control of invasive species, and replacement of dead plants, among others.
In Nuevo León, we have two community brigades, Laguna de Sánchez and El Pajonal, which directly benefit 11 people and 52 indirectly. In Guanajuato, we also have two brigades, consisting of ten ejidatarios who restore areas in Guanajuato, Silao, and Salamanca. In Centro-Bajío, we have five brigades, two in Nevado de Toluca, one in Tepotzotlán, and two more in Querétaro, directly benefiting 93 people. In Jalisco, we have two brigades corresponding to the northwest area of the La Primavera forest, which carried out fire prevention actions benefiting between four and five thousand hectares of forest.
The work carried out by our brigades is fundamental to ensure the survival of the trees planted during reforestations. When a company decides to invest in Reforestamos, we ensure that the resources obtained are sufficient to carry out forest maintenance for three years, which also includes the work of the brigades to prevent and combat fires.