| Jul 6, 2023
Preparing for Bolivia's 2023 fire season
Bolivia’s fire season will come in the next few months. Due to high levels of rain, it seems the fires will start a little later this year. Right now, we are seeing a few hotspots in Guarayos, but nothing major like past years.
The funds raised last year were incredibly helpful for hiring people from nearby communities to help open the fire trails. Since Ambue Ari covers almost 1000 hectares of land, it is a massive job! Especially the fire trail that surrounds the mountain where most of the fires entered during the last few years. We hired heavy machinery to do this one time. Your donations also helped cover food for the people CIWY hired while two hotspots were inside Ambue Ari. We are now spending the remaining money allocated for fires to again hire people to open the fire trails, and to buy tools, gloves, uniforms and other supplies.
You may recall that last year fires reached Jacj Cuisi for the first time, in addition to Ambue Ari, which faces fire every year.
As we prepare to protect 2 sanctuaries instead of 1, there are many factors to consider. Wildfire is incredibly unpredictable. It’s possible that fires will not come near Jacj Cuisi again, so we are hesitant to devote limited funds to erecting water towers like we did at Ambue Ari, because there may not be a need for them, and CIWY has so many other pressing needs. The landscape surrounding Jacj Cuisi is also much more hilly and densely forested than at Ambue Ari. A motorbike would allow us to drive through difficult terrain and bring water where it is needed, with 2 people and 2 backpack sprayers. A motorbike would have the added benefit of being extremely useful all year long for patrolling for poaching, illegal logging and mining, as well as transporting people and goods from Rurrenabaque. (CIWY’s truck, generously donated by AutoCorp, stays primarily at Ambue Ari, and we have no vehicles at Jacj Cuisi. As Jacj Cuisi grows and becomes CIWY’s main headquarters, with the closure of Machia, a vehicle is increasingly important.)
At Ambue Ari, we are in a better position to fight fire than we were in the past, but it continues to be a monumental task each year. Even with a truck and a motorcycle, 1000 hectares is a large area to protect! The team feels that a cuadratrack would be the ideal addition there. As with the motorbike, it would also prove very useful throughout the year.
We are immensely grateful to you, our wonderful supporters, who have provided CIWY with essential fire-fighting equipment and supplies over the past several years. It has made a real impact in protecting Ambue Ari. Now we ask for your help in better equipping our Jacj Cuisi team. You can see that our project page now includes items for Jacj Cuisi, in addition to Ambue Ari.
We will be planning more environmental education activities with youth, and outreach with farmers/ranchers, to help address the root causes of Amazon’s wildfires – namely, climate change, monocultures, and slash-and-burn agriculture. More on that in the future, but right now we need to ensure that we can protect the rescued animals in our care, as well as the wild animals on CIWY’s land, if and when wildfire threatens either sanctuary.
The CIWY/FIWY team
PS. July Bonus Day is next week! If you’d like to make a larger donation ($100 to $1000) to CIWY, it will earn matching funds on July 12! Matching starts at 9am ET.