Although recent rains have reduced the number of forest fires in Azuay Province, some continue to burn while new ones flare up. Risk Management officials say that the fire danger continues, with new fires concentrated in areas east of Cuenca, particularly near Sigsig and Gualaceo, and south of city, in Girón and the Yunguilla Valley.
So far this fire season, which risk management says began in late September, almost 3,000 hectares (about 7,500 acres) have burned, much of it in mountainous areas difficult for firefighters to reach.
On Wednesday, volunteer fire departments reported that a wildfire near Sigsig burned 13 hectares of forest while another in Guachapala burned 10.
“The fire danger is still with us,” says Gustavo Ramos of the regional risk management office. “The rains are a big help but they have not been general in coverage and some areas have received almost no participation. We are still experiencing sunny days with low humidity, and this creates fire hazards.”
Ramos said the majority of fires are man-made although lightning strikes are responsible for some. “Most are not malicious but they are the result of carelessness. Farmers are clearing land for planting and the fires get out of control.”
The weather forecast through the weekend calls for more mostly sunny days with isolated thundershowers.