Fires in Brazil’s Amazon up 28% in July
August 4, 2020 - The number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest jumped 28 percent in July from a year ago, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), threatening a repeat of last year’s surging destruction of the world’s largest rainforest.
INPE, which is responsible for monitoring Brazil, said it recorded 6,803 fires in the Amazon rainforest last month, compared to 5,318 in the same month of 2019.
Environmentalists expressed concern at the rise because August traditionally marks the beginning of the fire season in the region. They fear Brazil could repeat the surge seen in fires last August, when 30,900 fires were recorded by the institute.
The sharp increase in fires comes amid domestic and international concern over President Jair Bolsonaro’s calls to clear land in Brazil’s Amazon to drive economic development.
Addressing those concerns, on July 16, the government banned burning in the Pantanal wetlands and the Amazon forest for four months. Bolsonaro also issued an order in May for the military to coordinate environmental actions in the Amazon.
But experts said the fire numbers indicate the government’s response is not being effective and also point to the possibility that this year’s dry season will be even more prone to fires than last year.
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