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Smoke filled air from wild fires seen from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Burning forest fires around the state have caused residents along Riviera Maya to wake up to smoke-infested cities. Residents from Cancun to Playa del Carmen have had several days of smoke-filled mornings as nearly a dozen fires continue to burn.

According to the Municipal Directorate of Civil Protection, there are four burning fires around the city of Cancun which have affected nearly 2,000 hectares. The largest of them is located in the agricultural area at kilometer 285 of the Leona Vicario-Cancún highway, which has consumed 1,500 hectares.

City Council Secretary Jorge Aguilar Osorio acknowledged that “there are many fires” around the city, particularly toward the southern area. “Unfortunately, many people are taking advantage of these days to burn their land,” he said.

He indicated that it is a recurring practice for each forest fire season, but that on this occasion, there are those who take advantage of the fact that attention is focused on the coronavirus contingency. “What is happening is very unfortunate,” he stressed.

He did point out that the law will be applied so that these plots of land that are intentionally damaged cannot be developed.

Smoke from burning forest also covers Playa del Carmen from agricultural burns in Cancun and Puerto Morelos, west of the city. A fire near the Marsella II subdivision, along with the agricultural burning, has caused a haze over the city of Playa del Carmen.

A cold front that entered the region Thursday, bringing with the the first rains of the season, also hampered the natural dissipation of smoke. Eduardo Hernández, director of the H. Fire Department explained that “during the night, the cooling of the atmosphere did not allow the smoke to rise. Let’s hope this changes and the necessary rains come,” since the Thursday rainfall was only a few millimeters and not enough to help suppress any of the wild fires.