Mexico Helping Put Out Canadian Forest FiresBy María Fernanda Barría | Tue, 07/27/2021 - 11:21
Mexico's government, through the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), has sent firefighters to combat forest fires in Ontario, Canada. The provision is established within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Exchange of Resources for the Management of Forest Fires between both countries.
Mexico sent the firefighter's support group at the request of Canada and responds to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) statistics, which classifies the current fire situation in that country as critical. The CIFFC declared a level five of national preparation, which is the highest level on the scale. The classification of preparation levels is established according to weather conditions, amount of vegetation that can burn (fuels), fire behavior forecast, and the availability of national resources for fire suppression.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SERMANAT) reports that the dependency will work in Ontario with the support of five brigades, five chiefs, 20 crew chiefs, two representatives of the agency in the field, a COVID-19 coordinator and the rest as line firefighters, totaling 101 people.
The government institution explains that the group adheres to the requirements and standards requested by Canada since they completed their registration in the online platform of the system for the Selection of Forest Fire Fighters for International Deployments (SISECOIF) 2021 and successfully passed the phase of physical fitness and forest fire knowledge evaluations. The selection of 101 people took place between July 15 to 17 at CONAFOR's headquarters, located in Zapopan, Jalisco, where they completed other activities, such as weighing luggage, medical check, COVID-19 test, personal protective equipment check, among others.
As part of this bilateral cooperation project, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) confirmed the opportunity to vaccinate the Mexican contingent members against COVID-19, making use of the mobile clinic for the participants upon their arrival. SERMANAT reports that the exchange of personnel and support strengthens and demonstrates the effectiveness of bilateral and regional cooperation mechanisms with the Canadian government.
As previously reported by MBN, Mexico has experienced devastating droughts and numerous forest fires in recent months. Governmental entities have launched a Rainfall Stimulation Plan or Cloud Seeding in several states to mitigate these problems. The government already started a pilot program in Baja California, which operated successfully during February and March in an area of 1 million hectares over the town of San Vicente and the agricultural zone of San Quintín, explains SADER. The pilot program benefited approximately 10,000 residents and 3,000 farmers. The project in Sinaloa, which will last about three months to support the entire agricultural season, began in June and involved between 20 and 25 flights carried out by the Mexican Air Force. The flights transported silver iodide particles to spray between the clouds and precipitate rain.