The Amazon is burning like it was never seen before. The number of outbreaks of fire so far this year is 83% higher than in the same period of 2018. Instead of jungle, the agricultural sector in Brazil is very powerful, conveniently due the ultra-rightist government of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, deforestation has risen by 273% as well as the increment of illegal occupation of jungle territory, as a result of this deforestation it allows to speculation and sale of these lands.
Brazilian space agency (INPE) indicates on the data a deforestation of 4,565 square kilometers, which represents a 15% growth in the disappearance of its surface. The information collected by satellites is clears: Every minute jungle surface similar to a soccer field disappears.
Companies and the government must stop putting short-term profits over the lives of people and the planet.
These fires are not just affecting Brazil, there are other countries like Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru being affected for weeks with thousands of hectares consumed by waves of fire. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales announced last Wednesday the creation of the Environmental Emergency Cabinet to deal with the forest fires that have been affecting the Chiquitania area in the department of Santa Cruz for days. Morales also announced that a Boeing 747 Super Tank will be hired to stop the spread of heat sources. In addition to the Super Tank, five to ten tankers will be hired. The “Boeing 747 Super Tank” is a tanker for air-fighting fire, with a capacity of 75,000 litres.
‘Fires always have a human origin. Fires are used to clean up areas that have been deforested, to open ways to prepare the land for agriculture.’ Explains Paulo Moutinho, investigator of the Environmental Research Institute on the Amazon (IPAM) – ‘Many times, the lack of prevention makes these fires easy to extend to areas that are not in conditions to be burned, then this fire can only stopped by rain or until it finds other barriers like denser and more humid vegetation’ he adds.
The Brazilian Minister for Environment, Ricardo Salles, explained that the increment of fires in Brazil is due to dry season. However, experts reject this explanation. “There hasn’t been a severe drought to blame it like in previous years and still there are more fires than ever.” Explained Moutinho.
Best scenario is that due to the fire coming from the ground it kills the highest trees making them loose their leaves so the sunlight penetrates more directly in the jungle make the vegetation more inflammable, so even if there is no more fires, it will take decades to recover the same density of vegetation, some of the burnt areas will be invaded by plant vegetation from drier areas preventing the return of the vegetation that used to grow there.
This will definitely cause irreversible changes in the ‘normal’ rainfall regime in the rest of the country.