Brazil: worst June in 13 years for fires in the Amazon

Brésil: pire mois de juin en 13 ans pour les incendies en Amazonie

RIO DE JANEIRO | The number of forest fires in the brazilian Amazon has increased from 19.5% in June compared to the same month last year, with 2 248 homes surveyed, the worst total since 13 years, according to official data released on Wednesday.

The month of June marks the beginning of the dry season and these figures confirm the forecasts of analysts, who were counting on a year, even more devastating than 2019, when the outbreak of forest fires in the Amazon had caused a lively emotion in the world.

The website of the national Institute of spatial research (INPE), which tracks real-time alerts of fires are identified by satellite, had never done a state of so many homes for this month of the year from the 3 519 registered in 2007.

But the worst is expected for the month of August: over 30, 000 households had been registered in 2019, three times more than during the same month in 2018.

The forest fires in the Amazon are for the most part criminals and directly related to deforestation, often caused by farmers using the slash-and-burn on the areas deforested for farming or cattle grazing.

Deforestation in Brazil was already very high this year even before the beginning of the dry season, with more than 2 000 km2 deforested from January to may, 34 % more than in the same period of 2019, according to the latest data from the INPE.

The Institute of environmental research of Amazonia (Ipam) estimates that 9 000 km2 of forest is already deforested since last year could go up in smoke by the month of August.

Environmentalists accuse the government of president of extreme right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, a climatosceptique well-known, to promote deforestation by calling to legalize farming or mining activities in protected areas.

The experts fear that the increase in fire does not cause more respiratory disorders in a population already hard-hit by the coronavirus.

The other major problem: the public authorities have less human and financial resources to protect the environment because of the pandemic, which has led to nearly 60, 000 deaths in Brazil.

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