Road blockades in Veracruz due to forest fires

There are 20 active forest fires, most of which have been caused by human activity.

For the second consecutive day, a group of people protested and blocked roads in the capital region of the state of Veracruz, demanding that authorities extinguish the forest fire in Barranca Grande, in the municipality of Ixhuacán de los Reyes. The fire has significantly spread, reaching localities in Quimixtlán, Puebla.

Since Monday, June 3rd, people have caused major traffic chaos by closing all entrances and exits to the magical town of Coatepec, disrupting traffic and economic activity. On Tuesday, June 4th, they closed the Coatepec-Las Trancas highway at the diversion towards the La Orduña community in Coatepec.

What’s happening with the fires in Veracruz?

The road blockades occurred on various highways, including Coatepec-Las Trancas (in the Puente Seco area), Coatepec-Xico (near Zimpizahua), the old road to Coatepec via Briones, and the Xalapa-Coatepec boulevard. Later in the afternoon, riot police arrived, and the protesters decided to clear the communication routes.

Yesterday, some bus lines ceased operations for the same reason. People now have to walk to enter or exit Coatepec, a municipality located eight kilometers from Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz. Residents of Ixhuacán de los Reyes reported that the forest fire has been active since May 26th and has extended into the Quimixtlán area in Puebla, allegedly due to a lack of response capacity from Veracruz authorities.

As a result, people demanded urgent intervention from government forces at all levels. Despite the Secretariat of Civil Protection’s alleged attention to the fire, protests continue, along with the efforts of brigades from the Puebla government.

The Veracruz Ministry of Environment reported that at 4:30 PM, a helicopter from the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) arrived in Ayahualulco. It will join aerial operations coordinated by the state of Puebla to combat the forest fire located in La Concepción (La Concha) near the limits with Ixhuacán de los Reyes. Ground brigades from both states are also working on controlling the fire.

Currently, there are 20 active fires. The helicopter is conducting reconnaissance flights to establish an operational base and begin aerial water attacks as weather conditions allow.

According to Guadalupe Osorno Maldonado, head of Civil Protection in Veracruz, most of the fires have been caused by human activity, including agricultural burns, negligence, and vandalism. The heatwave and water scarcity have complicated firefighting efforts, but the State Fire Management Committee is addressing all incidents.

The fires are spreading close to inhabited areas. Residents of Tlacolulan alerted authorities about a forest fire approaching the urban zone in the Xoxocotla locality. The situation is alarming as the fire rapidly extends in the area known as Blanca Espuma.

According to preschool teacher Karina María Ortiz Hernández, emergency numbers have been called, but there has been no favorable response. Residents have organized to try to fight the fire, but they are few in number, and intervention from authorities at all levels is needed.

“Blanca Espuma is a little higher up, and it’s the one currently on fire. However, the fire is now spreading down toward my community of Xoxotla. We’ve all requested help, but nobody, absolutely nobody, is responding.”

Residents are frightened due to the lack of support, fearing that families are in danger and that homes may be affected.

“They just tell us they’ll come, but in reality, they’re not supporting us at all. Everyone is very scared because we’re a small community, and it’s overwhelming. The situation is truly intense,” emphasized the teacher.

Source: Heraldo de Mexico