Brazil: the Amazon had not seen so many fires in August since 2010

A particularly critical month, at the heart of the dry season. The Brazilian Amazon experienced its worst month of August since 2010, with an increase in the number of forest fires of 18% compared to the same month last year, according to official data published Thursday, September 1.

Satellites from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) detected 33,116 fires in the Amazon last month, compared to 28,060 in August 2021. The Amazon had never burned so much in August for 12 years. No less than 3,358 households were identified for the single day of August 22, unheard of for a daily count since September 2007.

Over the first eight months of the year, the INPE detected a total of 46,022 outbreaks of fire, an increase of 16% compared to the period from January to August 2021.

Deforestation at its peak

Since 2010, the four worst data for this month of the year correspond to the four years of mandate of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro (30,900 in 2019, 29,307 in 2020, 28,060 in 2021 and 33,116 in 2022).

“This unbridled increase in the number of fires over the past four years is closely linked to the increase in deforestation”underlines Mariana Napolitano, of the Brazilian antenna of WWF. “The Amazon rainforest is tropical and humid. Fire is not part of its natural cycle. Fires do not happen spontaneously, they are always linked to human actions.”

According to experts, these fires are notably caused by farmers who illegally clear the land by burning trees. Deforestation is also at its highest in Brazil, with 3,988 km2 deforested in the first half.

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