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Forest fire reported again in El Pilar Archaeological Reserve

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Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2020. 9:53 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Breaking Belize News has been informed that a forest fire is currently affecting the 5,000 plus acres of land known as the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve which is located some 6 to 7 miles north of Bullet Tree Village in the Cayo District.

Last week a fire had begun to burn the forest in the reserve but it was eventually controlled. This morning, however, the forest began to burn again and a small group of locals tried to out the fire. However, their efforts were in vain and late this evening the fire got out of control again and continues to burn into the night.

The 5,000 plus acres that form the reserve is located in the vicinity of numerous milpas. The reserve area is protected by a trench that was dug around the perimeter of the property to serve as a fire pass. However, forest fires at this time of the year are known to jump some of these artificial barriers, and are especially easy to re-ignite as there are lots of dry leaves and twigs on the ground that can feed the fire.

El Pilar is one of Belize’s largest Maya site; the mayan site itself covers a 75 acre space and boasts over 15 courtyards or plazas. However, the whole reserve is comprised of 5,000 plus acres that is managed to protect the local flora and fauna.

The name “El Pilar” is spanish and means a watering basin. Through the efforts of Dr. Anabel Ford, the reserve was declared a cultural monument in both Belize and Guatemala in 1998 as while most of the site is in Belize, parts of the actual archaeological site is in Guatemala.

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