Once again, devastating dry-season fires in Brazil


This year’s fires are taking a brutal toll on Brazil’s Pantanal wetland. (Photo by @josemedeirosfotografo)

A year after fires in Brazil’s Amazon region sparked international alarm, the country again faces widespread dry-season blazes—this time with the worst of them in the Pantanal, home to one of the world’s largest freshwater wetlands. Ranchers and farmers clearing land started most of the 10,153 fires registered in the Pantanal from January through August, says Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE). That’s the highest number recorded for those months in the Pantanal since record-keeping began in 1998, says INPE, which uses satellite images to monitor fires and deforestation. The Brazilian Amazon has fared better than last year in the May-to-October dry season, but only slightly. In the first eight months of 2020 it experienced 44,013 fires—just 6% fewer than during the same time period in 2019. The decline corresponds to an estimated 5% reduction in the Brazilian Amazon deforestation rate from January through... [Log in to read more]

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