Weekend forecasts for the state of Chihuahua are for temperatures even higher than those that brought a weather alert last week, when authorities warned of temperatures approaching 50 C. Temperatures are forecast to reach 52 C this weekend in a heat wave that hs helped fuel three large forest fires.
Last week's weather warning applied to 11 municipalities but has now been extended to include a total of 30, where temperatures have consistently risen above 40 C.
The municipality of Moris in the Sierra Tarahumara has already reported temperatures above 50, a situation not reported there for years, said the state Civil Protection chief.
As a result, Virgilio Cepeda Cisneros has requested the federal government declare a natural disaster emergency.
With from the national disaster relief fund Fonden made available by such a declaration, Cepeda's office will be able to provide bottled water, food and personal hygiene products, among other supplies.
In the municipality of Ciudad Juarez, authorities have been distributing drinking water in tanker trucks to the neighborhoods that require it, although the state Commission for Protection Against Health Risks warned it was not fit for human consumption.
Mayor Armando Cabada Alvidrez rejected the warning by drinking water from one of the trucks himself to prove it was drinkable.
In three other municipalities, three forest fires have been blazing for nearly 15 days.
The National Forest Commission (Conafor) said yesterday the fires in the municipalities of Madera, Gomez Farias and Guerrero were the largest in the state.
At least 10 were burning yesterday. "Up to June 16, there have been 618 fires that have affected an area of 43,876 hectares," said Conafor in a statement.
The agency dispatched an additional 10 brigades to reinforce efforts to fight the fires, which state authorities confirmed continue to burn but "the brigades have under control."
The number of new fires dropped significantly during the last week after sporadic rain delivered some moisture to wooded areas, enough to impede the propagation of wildfires.
"Still, high temperatures and human neglect make small fires turn dangerous," said a government spokesman.