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!

Amazing Bird Watching in the Heart of Mazatlán

DSC_0118Birdwatching here in the center of town is so very incredible. It never ceases to astound me how, amidst the traffic and pedestrians, and despite the bulldozers that are currently working full blast, the lagoon fills with every kind of gorgeous water fowl: ibis, cranes, herons, storks, ducks, bobos, spoonbills… It makes for a splendid sight, and wonderful sounds as well!

Estero del Camarón is arguably the heart of our city, located as it is halfway between the historic downtown and the delightful marina area, next to the Gran Plaza shopping center, just south of the Golden Zone, one block off the malecón, and one block north of city park/El Bosque de la Ciudad. The estuary, or “laguna” as most Mazatlecos call it, is representative of the brackish waters that dotted all of Mazatlán back in the day, when anyone could cast a tarraya net and bring in enough shrimp or fish to feed their family.

Today, instead of heading over to zumba, I enjoyed a peaceful morning taking pictures of some of those delightful sights in Estero del Camarón. By the looks of all the fish these birds were catching, food is plentiful and the water fowl are hungry! Click on any photo to enlarge it or to view a slideshow.

Today there were two guys fishing in the estuary; you can see them in one of the photos above. I also met Salvador, who was wading through the lagoon shirtless and barefoot, removing the litter that mindless passersby throw into this wildlife sanctuary. Thank you, Salvador! I met another man who told me he stops here every morning to sit for half an hour before work; what a wonderful way to start his day! I’ve previously done an article on the restaurant here, which is currently offering 40 peso breakfasts. I HIGHLY recommend you join them, and bring your binoculars 😉