Brazil: highest fires as early as June, before the dry season

Fires in Brazil’s Amazon have experienced the most devastating June since 2007, suggesting another dramatic dry season for the largest rainforest on the planet, official data released on Thursday.

Satellites from the National Space Research Institute (INPE) detected 2,308 fires, or 2.3% more than in June last year (2,248).

The previous record for the month of June, which marks the beginning of the dry season, was set in 2007 (3,519 outbreaks).

A new record from 2007 was also set in May with 1,166 epidemics.

These figures confirm a trend that, according to environmentalists, encourages the position of far-right President Jair Bolsonar in favor of opening mining and agricultural activities in the Amazon.

“The increase in fires in the Amazon is not a surprise, it is the result of direct actions that encourage illegality and weaken control bodies, such as reducing the fire monitoring budget for 2021 by 60%,” the NGO Socio-Institute for the Environment (ISA) lamented in a press release. AFP.

Throughout 2020, about 103,000 fires were recorded in the Amazon biome, an increase of 16% in one year, according to INPE.

These fires are the result of deforestation to create places for agriculture and livestock, experts say.

The Brazilian government issued a decree banning burning for four months this week and approved the sending of troops to the Amazon to fight deforestation and illegal mining.

Two strategies that, according to Greenpeace of Brazil, “have failed unmistakably in the last two years.”

Jair Bolsonaro recently pledged to the international community to eliminate illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030, without announcing concrete measures to achieve this goal.

Deforestation in the Amazon has recorded three consecutive annual records in recent years. During the August-July reference period, 9,216 km2 were cleared between August 2019 and July 2020 (+ 34% over one year).

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