Mexico asks for help to combat forest fires

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The Mexican government requested help from its Canadian and U.S. counterparts to control forest fires that have burned thousands of hectares in the northern state of Coahuila, the Environment Ministry (Semarnat) said Monday.

Semarnat said Mexico had asked the United States to provide aerial tanker planes capable of dumping a special liquid for extinguishing the fires, which are burning near the U.S. border.

Mexico also asked the Canadian province of Quebec to provide a waterbomber and fuel in order to carry water from a reservoir on the Rio Grande, the river that separates the United States and Mexico in that region, in order to fight the fires.

The fires in areas with plenty of desert shrubs and bushes have consumed close to 75,000 hectares in Coahuila, an official at Semarnat and the National Forest Commission said, adding that an electrical storm in March that sparked the fires in a mountainous region of Coahuila.

Soldiers, Federal Police officers and their state and municipal counterparts have participated in fighting the fires.

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