Forest fires have increased in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve due to climate change conditions and to human pressure that leads to destroying ecosystems that are refuges to precious and endangered biodiversity. Currently across Mexico communities are unable to control forest fires because of insufficient resources. We seek to prevent fires by creating local rapid response brigades and by educating communities on fire prevention and the importance of forest conservation.
Forest fires in the Sierra Gorda are man-made, provoked to instigate land-use change from forest to agriculture. Negligence, the hotter and drier climate, and strong winds cause these fires to expand rapidly and uncontrollable, harming ecosystems, endangering communities, and liberating CO2. Mexico's federal government, meanwhile, has reduced the budget of the National Forestry Commission, making it unable to respond to fire emergencies. A recent fire affected 3,250 ha. before it was stopped.
We will hire, train, and equip local brigades to be first-responders to outbreaks, putting out fires before they get out of control. They will also maintain fire breaks to prevent forest fires from expanding during the dry season. Local fire brigades are essential because they know the land best. We will also lead extensive awareness campaigns for residents on prevention strategies and the dangers of provoking fires. Finally, we will work to implement legal deterrents against starting fires.
This project will increase the region's preparedness for combatting wildfires. It will engage different levels of government and citizens to participate in strengthening local fire prevention and firefighting capacities. It will also increase local awareness of the risks of starting fires. As a result, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve will become more resilient to the effects of climate change such as prolonged droughts which cause more frequent and powerful forest fires.