Fire in the Bosque

DSC_0071EditedHeartbreak! The bird sanctuary behind our house, the estuary in front of the Bosque de la Ciudad (city park), has gone up in flames this afternoon. We have lost dozens of nests, with eggs and hatchlings, of ibis, cranes, herons and storks. All because of human negligence. Bless the volunteer firefighters who came out within fifteen minutes of our call! As I write this, they are still fighting the flames.

The fire started just in front of the construction site to the south of Las Gavias Residencial on Avenida del Mar. We called the fire department, and that is the location where they arrived. The first thing the fire fighters did, even before the firetruck made it in, was to remove some old tires that had caught fire on the edge of the estuary. Once the truck arrived, they got out a hose and quickly used up the truck’s full tank of water. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Fortunately, shortly thereafter a water truck arrived on the City Park side, followed by more firefighters. I was so afraid the fire would blow through the park, killing the animals in their cages, endangering the children. It moved so quickly! Within twenty minutes the entire estuary was in flames, and in our 11th floor apartment the heat from the flames was incredible! We are at the height of dry season, and wherever there is not water out there in the estuary, is no more. Trees, grasses… all torched. I believe the city park is safe, but the firefighters will need to keep the grasses and brush wet.

The poor birds—ibis, cranes, herons, storks—were flying around seeming confused about where to go, their habitat filled with smoke and flames, their babies stranded in the flames.

It is now about an hour after the blaze started, and more fire trucks keep arriving, thank goodness. The fire continues threatening the pond in city park, but in general is heading north towards Avenida Insurgentes.

We’ve lost power… more later…

4:16 pm, it looks like the firefighters have gained control of the blaze. It has stopped moving. It went as far north as the salón de eventos south of Insurgentes, and from the Avenida del Mar side it doesn’t look like it destroyed any of the Bosque itself. Thank goodness for our volunteers!

The whole time it burned, Greg and I kept asking ourselves why the construction workers next door hadn’t called the fire department. They just stood there watching. The fire started very small. We immediately called 911. And, the construction workers had bulldozers, water, all kinds of equipment there; they could have put the fire out when it was still small. Perhaps they were afraid to use the equipment for something they weren’t authorized to do.

Such a sad day for our bird sanctuary. Thank goodness that Mother Nature will regrow it, though the loss of dozens and dozens of hatchlings and eggs is heartbreaking. Let’s use this as reason to FINALLY step up and stop permitting people to build in the estuary!

Final note: In the evening firefighters came with multiple bulldozers, and dug a perimeter/fire line around the burn zone, at least wherever land permitted (bulldozers can’t go in the water…). They did such an admirable job! Please take care of our environment, everyone. Mazatlán used to be one big estuary, full of mangroves, shrimp, and water fowl. In the city now we are down to just a very few. Let’s treasure and keep them!

City Improvements are Rockin’ It!

Mazatlán has a bumper crop of city renovation and development projects underway, and I have been remiss, posting to VidaMaz’s Facebook page about several of them, but failing to actually upload them here to the blog for you who don’t follow us on social media.

Parque Central/Central Park

The first project is championed by Pueblo Bonito’s Neto Coppel. He announced his plans to build a new state-of-the-art museum several months ago, and we shared those press releases. The new museum will be built on the site of the current Teodoro Mariscal baseball stadium, (if) and when a new stadium is built up north in the marina. The overall project, called Parque Central or Central Park, is planned for the current site of the Bosque de la Ciudad, City Park, just behind the malecón between the Aquarium and Avenida Insurgentes.

I love how the estuaries are actually expanded rather than contracted in the plans, and I also adore that we will have another frontage road to Avenida del Mar—permitting access during street closures such as Carnavál parades and marathon. The plans include pedestrian and bicycle access to the park from the malecón, which will be terrific for locals and tourists. The plans, I’m sure you’ll agree, look marvelous! This will be a huge addition to our gorgeous city! Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

Carpa Olivera/Outdoor Pool in Olas Altas

The second project I want to be sure you know about is already under construction. It is the renovation of the historic outdoor pool in Olas Altas. For the past several weeks the area has had a plywood wall blocking access, and work is proceeding to upgrade and update the pool. Below are the architects’ renderings of that project, as well as a couple of photos of the site from the Mayor’s office.

Again, I’m sure you’ll agree this project is a huge improvement. It will be wonderful to have a public swimming pool with such an incredible view. This is a project that will be a terrific asset to families in our community, and it will showcase Mazatlán on the world stage—seaside pools gain a lot of attention.

Palm Trees on the Malecón

I’ve posted photos of workers cutting the cement of the malecón in order to plant the palm trees, which it seems were gifted to the city by Stone Island. I then posted photos of them installing lighting. There has been a lot of pushback by residents who don’t like the new palm trees. Some complain they provide no shade, others that they ruin the open view of the ocean. Personally, I absolutely love them! I believe they add a sophistication and cared-for look to our beloved oceanside promenade, which I believe is the longest in the world. As I write workers are installing lighting in front of our condo building, but the first stretch of lighting, from Valentino’s to Las Gavias, has been completed. Photos from the Tourism Office are below.

New Athletic Facilities in the Bosque/City Park

By now you know we have new soccer fields and basketball courts in the grassy center of the boulevard along city park. Just recently they have finished two new, gorgeous tennis courts, and I am told the city will be offering tennis lessons to the public. Thus far they go very under-used, so get out there and play!

Between the new courts and the Kilometer Zero art installation are new weight and exercise machines that have been installed. These are obviously built for outdoor use, but my guess is they won’t last long in this salty air unless they are scrupulously maintained. Get to them and work out while you can! At 6:30 am yesterday when I went by, a young man, a trainer, was there instructing people how to use it.

Zona Dorada/Golden Zone Renovations

Finally, I reported on our social media several months ago when the Mayor announced rehabilitation of the Golden Zone. Improvements include new sidewalks, which are gorgeous, by the way! They installed the new undulating wave/resin and concrete sidewalk in front of the Hotel Playa a week or two ago. I failed to get a photo of it when I saw it, and now it has been all torn up as city workers install new cable for lighting. Poor planning, sadly. The Golden Zone should be finished by February, they say, and in addition to curbs, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, we pray they’ll be working on drainage. Flooding in that area is horrible when it rains, primarily due to the fact that most of it is reclaimed land.

Some residents complain that all these monies could better be spent on drainage, sewage, road repair, etc., but nearly every day on the Mayor’s page on Facebook he shares with us yet another paving or water project in one of the city’s many colonias. He does, indeed, seem to be doing what he promised our municipality when he ran for office! I, for one, am very excited.

LOVING our city!