Wildfires – Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ordered the deployment of troops to fight the intense wildfires that have engulfed a portion of the Amazon rainforest in an apparent reversal from previously downplaying the blaze.

In a presidential decree, Bolsonaro pledged troops to fight the raging fires for the next month. The Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA also said on Friday it would send hundreds of temporary firefighters to help battle the wildfires.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research announced that 2,254 square kilometers of the Amazon were eliminated in July, marking a 278% increase from the same period one year ago. The INPE also reported a 90% increase in deforestation in June from the same month last year. The Brazilian government’s push to escalate agricultural and mining developments in the Amazon at the expense of Indigenous rights actively brought about the ongoing wildfire crisis, Indigenous advocates say.

The Amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and is considered crucial to sustaining life on Earth. The rainforest is also a hub of incredible biodiversity and is vital to combating climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. But experts say the current wildfires are sending huge amounts of toxic greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. There are currently over 75,000 wildfires burning in the rainforest throughout the country.

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