The fiercest fire of the hot season so far tore through Bosque La Primavera, the large area of forest to the west of Guadalajara sometimes known as the city’s lungs, for about 40 hours, between Tuesday and Thursday, charring about 2,200 of its 30,500 hectares before being brought under control.
The fire resulted in several schools being closed in Tala, Zapopan and Tlajomulco and an air quality warning being issued advising people to stay indoors, keep windows closed, avoid exercising outside and wear protective face masks out of doors. According to authorities, the grassy portions of the protected park, popular with joggers and daytrippers, took the brunt of the blaze’s wrath, while trees were relatively unscathed. Cooperating in containment efforts were about 230 individuals at all jurisdictional levels, from municipal to federal, in addition to civil organizations.
Investigators have yet to definitively determine the cause of the fire, although they say it was most likely set deliberately.
“We have evidence that arson was committed, and we’re conducting an investigation to identify and punish those involved,” said Jalisco Environment Secretary Magdalena Ruiz Mejia, who added that over 30 percent of fires are started intentionally, often for land use reasons.
At the time of publication Jose Luis Tostado, Zapopan’s interim mayor, said that his municipality’s law enforcement had arrested one person in connection to the fires so far.
Also weighing in was Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval, who helicoptered to La Primavera to inspect the affected area.
“The fire, as far as we know, was started intentionally in the municipality of Tala, in an agricultural area,” said Sandoval. “We will not tolerate this sort of action in our state.”