Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fire in the Hills!

It's a repetitive tragedy - a forest fire in the hills adds more pollution to Bogotá's already-smoggy air and leaves scars on the hillsides.

This fire, near the Virgin of Guadalupe, burned all afternoon, destroying about 1,200 square meters of vegetation, but by the evening firefighters reported having it between 70 and 90% extinguished. The forest fires' causes include illegal campfires, discarded cigarettes, sparks from cars, and even arson.

Preventing such fires, particularly when the intention is criminal, is difficult. However, environmental authorities have often talked about replacing the hills' exotic tree species, particularly pines and eucalyptus, with less-flammable native species, and I haven't seen that happen.

Perhaps tragedies like this one should makes us grateful to the people deforesting the Eastern Hills to build luxury high-rises and massive parking garages. After all, once the hills' forests are converted into concrete and asphalt, there'll be nothing left to burn.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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