This Tuesday night, there was a wildfire in the Sian Ka’an Reserve. The fire broke out Tuesday night and was reported by residents of the Javier Rojo Gómez community. Initially, it was estimated that about one hectare of the jungle had burned in the Biosphere Reserve; however, after it was contained, the devastation was an area of half a hectare.
According to preliminary information, the fire was located at kilometer 32 of the Tulum-Punta Allen highway, near the Xamach 2 ranch.
After the fire was reported, the Tulum Fire Department members arrived and entered through a road in poor condition. This is the only access to that community in order to control this wildfire that could risk spreading to a broader section of this Protected Natural Area.
Residents said the fire started at approximately 7:30 PM on Tuesday, but it was not until 10 PM that the emergency responders received the call for help. The Tulum firefighters arrived and extinguished the wildfire at around 5 in the morning and gained control over the incident.
The authorities detailed that the fire covered 100 meters on the bank of the Tulum-Punta Allen highway and 50 meters inside the jungle of the Sian Ka’an biosphere (half a hectare). They also said that they don’t know the cause that originated this wildfire, although it is presumed that it was caused intentionally.
This is not the first time that a fire has been reported in the Sian Ka’an Protected Area. In May 2021, almost 62 hectares of vegetation burned from the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve in Tulum due to a forest wildfire caused by hunters. In July 2019, there was another incident where the area affected by the wildfire in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve was more than 2,500 hectares.
Regrettably, this happens in a reserve that is a world heritage site, which generates so many benefits for the area’s communities. In these previous incidents, investigations showed that they had been caused by hunters, something that frequently happens in Quintana Roo. According to the authorities, it is common for hunters to set fire to the savannah to make it easier for them to see the deer because the grass is very high, but sometimes it gets out of control.
Importance of the Sian-Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a protected area located in Quintana Roo. This natural paradise is located on the Caribbean coast and was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987.
“Sian Ka’an” means “Gate to Heaven” in Mayan. It has an area of 528,147 hectares and is located in the municipalities of Tulum and Felipe Carillo Puerto. The site is home to incredible biodiversity: red, black, white, and grey mangroves where many marine and land species live.
Sian Ka’an is the largest nature reserve in the Yucatan Peninsula and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. This place is so mega-diverse that among its limits, you can find several different ecosystems: tropical forests, wetlands, mangroves, marshes, coastal dunes, and savannah areas. In addition, off the coast and within the protected area, there is a part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef – the second largest in the world – a magnificent marine ecosystem of extraordinary biodiversity.
Amigos of Sian Ka’an
Amigos de Sian Ka’an is a leading non-profit environmental association in Mexico with more than three decades of experience dedicated to preserving natural resources and promoting the sustainable development of communities in the Yucatan Peninsula by proposing alternatives that balance the proper use of them. If you want to learn more about their work, you can check their official website here.
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