In Brazil, no respite on the fire front


The fires in Brazil continued to advance on Saturday, especially in the Amazon, despite the mobilization of the army and the ban on burning in the largest rainforest in the world.

According to the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) which monitors the progress of fire departures in real time, 3,859 new fires, of which about 2,000 in the Amazon, were recorded in the days of Thursday and Friday.

The government issued a decree on Thursday banning the practice of burning across the country.

In a new decree issued late Friday, however, this ban was limited to "legal Amazonia", the nine Brazilian states where the rainforest extends. Elsewhere, it is permitted with prior authorization when it is considered "essential" for agricultural practices.

From January to August 30, Brazil recorded 88,816 fire starts, according to the INPE, including 51.9% in the Amazon, a direct result, according to specialists, of the increase in deforestation.

Brazil has had far worse years than in 2019 in terms of forest fires, but since 2004, when the real-time analysis of deforestation began, this is the first time that so many fires have been recorded in a country. year of moderate drought, according to specialists.

According to satellite data, deforestation is increasing, linked to the exploitation of forest areas by loggers and large landowners.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro first downplayed the fire crisis in the Amazon, pointing to NGOs as responsible for fire starts.

He then decided to act under the pressure of the international community, worried about the situation in a forest vital for the planet.

Bolsonaro has finally authorized the sending of the army to fight fires, but conditioned the receipt of 20 million dollars offered by the G7 countries, a retraction of French President Emmanuel Macron on the possibility of conferring a status in the Amazon.

According to a survey published Saturday by the Datafolha Institute, 66% of Brazilians believe that the country should accept foreign financial assistance to fight fires.

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