Greenpeace Brazil has captured images of the fires that have been ravaging the Amazon forest for the past three weeks in a flyover in the states of Rondônia and Pará.
In one of the largest outbreaks in the Amazon in recent years, fires continue to threaten biodiversity, Indigenous communities and climate worldwide. From January to August 2019 alone, the number of fires in the region was 145% higher than in the same period of 2018.
“It’s urgent and necessary to put an end to this vicious cycle while we still have time. During a flyover last Friday (23 August) we could see the consequences of Bolsonaro’s government anti-environmental agenda: extensive deforested areas, surrounded by smoke, showing the advance of industrial agriculture into the forest. Unlike what the Bolsonaro’s government claims, the wave of fire sweeping the Amazon is linked to an increase in deforestation in the region,” said Danicley Aguiar, Amazon Campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil.
In the Amazon, fire and deforestation go hand in hand. This year, 75% of the hot spots occurred in areas that used to be forest in 2017. Forest destruction is directly connected to the climate crisis. More deforestation and fires in the Amazon mean more greenhouse gas emissions and more global heating, making extreme weather events stronger and more dangerous, putting the forest, biodiversity, access to food and human health under further threat.
“The fires that are devastating the Amazon are also destroying Brazil’s image internationally. Even the agribusiness sectors are already admitting that the government’s anti-environmental policies can bring economic damage. In the meantime, Bolsonaro is not announcing any concrete measures to fight deforestation. He seems more concerned with saving himself than saving the forest,” said Márcio Astrini, Public Policy Coordinator at Greenpeace Brazil.
“The forest has its limit, and we are dangerously getting close to it. Moreover, deforestation only damages Brazil’s economy, the planet’s climate and endangers wildlife and the lives of thousands of people. Taking action to end deforestation must be everyone’s goal and an obligation of those who lead the country,” said Astrini.
 Of the 23,006 hot spots recorded in the Amazon in the first 20 days of the month, 15,749 used to be forest or recently deforested areas, 5,445 in pasture areas, 832 in natural formation and 602 in agricultural areas. Of the 6,295 heat sources recorded in the week of 16 August to 22 August, 1,201 (19%) were in Conservation Units and 364 of those (6%) in Indigenous Lands.
Rebecca Cesar, press officer, Greenpeace Brazil, +55 11 95640 0443, [email protected]
Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]