Fires near Mexico City have filled the skies with smoke over the metropolitan area, which is home to around 22 million people. Air quality has become hazardous as smoke pollution has far exceeded levels considered to be safe. Officials in Mexico City have declared an environmental emergency, closed schools, and advised people to stay inside.
The image above shows a wide view of central Mexico on May 14, 2019, as observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Fine aerosol particles also have been blowing toward Mexico City from fires in the southern states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, exacerbating air quality. Meteorologists warn that the smoke may reach parts of the United States in coming days.
Fueled by hot and dry conditions, the fire season in Mexico has been intense in 2019, leading to poor air quality. From January 1 to May 13, Mexico City registered only nine clean air days. News reports stated that more than one hundred active wildfires were blazing in 17 Mexican states as of May 13.
The second image shows smoke near Heroica Ciudad de Tlaxiaco in Oaxaca on May 14, 2019. The image was acquired by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite.
declared emergencies in 11 municipalities in Oaxaca earlier on May 11. Reports state that forest fires have affected more than 30,000 hectares of land in Oaxaca this year. An estimated 17,000 hectares burned in the Chimalapas jungle, which has not experienced a major fire since 1998.
References and Further Reading
- AP News (2019, May 11) Emergency declared in southern Mexico as forest fires rage. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- Excelsior (2019, May 14) ¡Fuego! Más de 30 mil hectáreas afectadas por incendios en Oaxaca y Qro. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- Mexico Daily News (2019, May 14) 108 wildfires are burning in 17 states, most in central and southern regions. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- Mexico Daily News (2019, May 13) Only 9 days of clean air in CDMX since Jan. 1 and now fires making it worse. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- Reuters (2019, May 14) Mexico City declares environment emergency as fires hurt air quality. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- Reuters (2019, May 15) Smog-ridden Mexico City suspends school classes due to pollution. Accessed May 16, 2019.
- The Weather Channel (2019, May 13) Mexico City Residents Warned to Stay Inside From Wildfire Smoke; Smoke Could Reach the U.S. Accessed May 16, 2019.