Fire is one of the most widespread factors of ecological disruption and landscape transformation in the ecosystems of Mexico and the world. Fires are part of the dynamics of ecosystems and are a management tool, as well as a factor of environmental deterioration, depending on the conditions under which they occur.
In 1998, the worst fire season in Mexico occurred, reaching 14,450 fires, the highest number in history, over an area of 850,000 hectares, the second largest ever. In addition to the damage to natural resources in federal protected areas (PAs) and infrastructure, 70 people died due to a lack of technical preparation, equipment, and local organization. As a result, innovations emerged to address this problem, including the Fire Prevention and Restoration Program (PPIRA, acronym in Spanish), a public-private initiative supported by FMCN, the Government of Mexico, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Forest Service (USFS) and local civilian organizations.
In 2004, FMCN created FOMAFUR to provide permanence to fire management activities by allocating a US $4.5 million endowment.
Through biannual calls for proposals aimed at civil organizations and rural and indigenous communities, FOMAFUR seeks to contribute to the strengthening and implementation of current public policies on the conservation of Mexico’s biodiversity and forest ecosystems (General Law for Sustainable Forest Development and the Fire Management Program 2020-2024). FOMAFUR is aligned with international forest fire protection and management trends (United Nations Environment Programme – 2022; Spreading like Wildfire – The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires; A UNEP Rapid Response Assessment; Nairobi).
The lines of work that guide FOMAFUR’s actions are:
- Fire prevention and protection, and capacity building to implement strategies to reduce fire danger and negative impacts on PAs and their surrounding areas.
- Fire management to conserve and restore fire regimes and reduce negative impacts on biodiversity and its environmental services.
- Restoration of burned areas through the recovery of the structure and functions of affected ecosystems.