13 - 15 MAY 1998. MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA, U.S.: IMPACT (FIRE)

The Associated Press and Reuters report more than 9,000 forest fires in Mexico this year, up almost 90% from last year, with 247 fires were still burning. Fire has affected more than 600,000 acres. Honduras has had 1,500 fires this year, destroying more than 740,000 acres. Additional fires are occurring in Guatemala and El Salvador. An ENSO-linked drought is believed to be responsible. Plumes of smoke have caused unhealthy air quality as far as Texas, southern California, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Louisiana. One person died in Mexico from smoke-related problems. Twenty-seven Mexican fire-fighters have died. Other deaths because of dehydration during the heat wave are also reported.

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