Over 1,500 new fires ignited in Amazon rainforest, official data shows


brazil-amazon-fires

HUNDREDS OF NEW fires have begun in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, official data showed yesterday.

Some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The new data came a day after President Jair Bolsonaro authorised the deployment of the country’s military to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activity in the vast region.

Seven states have requested the army’s help in the Amazon, where more than 43,000 troops are based and available to combat fires, officials said.

Firefighters and planes are also being deployed.

Six aircraft, including two Hercules C-130s equipped to carry 12,000 litres of water each have been sent to Rondonia to fight the fires. They are expected to be joined by 30 firefighters on Sunday.

Multiple fires billowing huge plumes of smoke into the air were seen across a vast area of the northwestern state of Rondonia on Friday.

Several residents in the capital Porto Velho reported that what appeared to be light clouds hanging over the city of half a million people was actually smoke from the blazes that had scorched swaths of land and left tree trunks smoldering on the ground.

“I’m very worried because of the environment and health,” Delmara Conceicao Silva told AFP.

“I have a daughter with respiratory problems and she suffers more because of the fires.”

 the-rainforest-continues-to-burn-in-brazil

Aerial scenes show fires in various regions of the Jamari Forest Reserve near Porto Velho, Rondonia
Source: Dario Oliveira/PA Images

The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global uproar, and are a major topic of concern at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

Official figures show 78,383 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013.

Experts say the clearing of land during the long dry season to make way for crops or grazing, has aggravated the problem.

More than half of the fires are in the massive Amazon basin, where more than 20 million people live.

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, both attending the G7 summit, have offered their countries’ assistance in fighting the fires.

“Any help is welcome in respect to the fires,” Brazil’s Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva told reporters on Saturday.

The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands of people protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday. More demonstrations are planned in Brazil today.

Environmental specialists say the fires are coming amid increasing deforestation in the region, which in July took place at a rate four times that of the same month in 2018, according to data from INPE.


Comments