15 years of fires in the Amazon

The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon reached a record high in nearly 15 years on Monday, according to official figures. Satellite imagery detected 3,358 fires on Monday, August 22, the highest single-day tally since September 2007.

The figure was three times higher than on August 10, 2019, which was described as a ‘day of fire’, after Brazilian farmers began a massive slash-and-burn operation in the country’s northeast that sent smoke spreading over São Paulo, some 2,500 kilometers away, prompting international condemnation.

There was no evidence Monday’s fire was coordinated, according to the manager of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) fire monitoring program interviewed on Thursday. Rather, they are part of an increasing pattern of deforestation.

Experts attribute the Amazon fires to farmers, ranchers and speculators illegally clearing land by burning trees.

Further and further north

Following the “increasing deforestation curve,” the official said, “areas with high fire incidence are moving further and further north.” Fire season in the Amazon usually begins in August with the onset of the dry season.

This year, INPE has detected 5,373 fires through July, which is 8% more than the same month in 2021. Since the beginning of the current month, 24,124 fires have been recorded, making August the worst month since the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro. presidency, although it is still a long way from August 2005 (63,764 outbreaks detected, a record since 1998).

Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for advocating the destruction of the Amazon for the sake of agriculture. Since he came to power in January 2019, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by 75% compared to the previous decade.

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