Despite an official ban on fires by the federal government, the number of fires in August was 18% higher than the prior year.
Manaus, Brazil – 33,116 fire hotspots were registered in the Amazon in the month of August, according to data from the Brazilian National Space and Research Institute (INPE). Despite a decree by the federal government that currently bans fires in the Amazon, the forest is being burned at the highest level in 12 years, showing that the measure has been ineffective in protecting the forest. In addition to threatening the biodiversity of the Amazon, the fires fill the cities in the region with smoke, putting the local populations’ health at risk.
Photos and videos of the fires and smoke are available in the Greenpeace Media Library.
“I have been monitoring these fires for over 10 years and I have never seen such massive destruction, with so much smoke,” said Rômulo Batista, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, “We recently flew over one burning area of 8,000 hectares, the equivalent of 11,000 soccer fields. This is the largest deforested area within the last year.”
There was a 16.7% increase in fire hotspots in the Amazon from January to August this year, compared to 2021 – the highest rate since 2019. Out of all these fires, 43% were identified in only 10 municipalities, five of them located in the southern region of the Amazon known as AMACRO, where agribusiness is opening a new accelerating front of deforestation. 13.8% of the fires were registered in conservation units, 5,9% in Indigenous Lands, and 25% were registered in public lands, indicating the advance of land-grabbing in the region.
“Instead of the Brazilian administration and Congress focusing on stopping the destruction of the Amazon to protect people and the climate, and on fighting against environmental crimes, they keep pushing for more bills that will further accelerate deforestation and enable more invasion of public lands and violence in the field. Brazil does not need more Amazon destruction, our country needs policies that promote real progress in fighting deforestation, fires, land grabbing, and that defend the lives of Indigenous People and traditional communities,” said Rômulo Batista.
Greenpeace Brazil Press Centre: [email protected], +55 92 9480-3580
Diego Gonzaga, Greenpeace International Amazon Communications: [email protected], +1 415 527 9440