On Tuesday, May 30, the Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, announced a series of contingency measures if wildfires break out in the capital area ahead of the upcoming dry summer season. The mayor reported that the region has prepared for potential wildfires by investing in new equipment for firefighters, assigning 1352 municipal troops to respond to emergency situations, providing 182 vehicles and a rescue helicopter, and creating better risk assessment systems.
According to weather forecasts, strong winds, little rainfall, and high temperatures are expected through September, a combination conducive to the spread of wildfires.
The increased wildfire risk is due to hot weather conditions and strong winds. The last significant wildfires to impact Quito occurred in 2015, which forced a number of residents to flee their homes. Three firefighters were killed and 20 others injured by the blaze.
Individuals in Ecuador are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to follow all instructions as issued by the local authorities (e.g. potential evacuation orders). On a related note, smoke produced by the fires can create difficult breathing conditions, particularly for people with pre-existing conditions, children, and the elderly.
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