Fire in the Amazon: June records the highest number of hotspots in the last 14 years

by Katie Nelson

July 1, 2021

The record-breaking June fires occurs the same week Bolsonaro’s government announced a repeatedly failed approach to combat deforestation and fires in the Amazon

Manaus, Brazil, July 1, 2021   Data released this morning by the Brazilian Institute of Space Research (INPE) showed that the month of June recorded the highest number of hotspots in the Amazon since 2007, compared to the same month in previous years. Satellites have shown 2,308 hot spots, representing a 3 percent increase compared to June 2020, the last time fires broke the record. 

This new increase occurred in the same week the federal government decided to maintain an approach that has undeniably failed in the last two years. The moratorium on fire and the deployment of armed forces will be used once again through the decree of the Guarantee of Law and Order (GLO) to combat deforestation and fires in the Amazon. 

In response, Rômulo Batista, spokesperson for the Greenpeace Brazil Amazon campaign, said: 

“Unfortunately, this record month of June comes as no surprise, considering the continuity of the anti-environment policy and the insistence on using expensive tools, like the deployment of military troops, which have proved ineffective in the last two years. In fact, in addition to being shorter in duration than in previous years, the decree even warns those doing the deforestation and the land grabbers where they will be patrolling during this period. This strategy is a failure.”

Simultaneously, Bolsonaro’s administration continues to push a suite of anti-Indigenous and anti-environment bills in the Brazilian Congress. The suite of bills encourage new deforestation and invasions of public lands. Recent proposals to open up Indigenous lands to predatory activities, such as bill PL 490, would strip away Indigenous land rights and legalize land theft. [1] [2] 

Diana Ruiz, Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said:

“This is a vicious cycle, deeply connected to the drivers of forest and ecosystem destruction including the disregard for human rights. At root this all points to the absence of governance and corporate accountability. The Bolsonaro administration continues to reinforce forms of oppression towards Indigenous Peoples as it advances its agenda to exploit the Amazon and legalize its destruction.”

Human-caused fires to clear forests and other climate critical ecosystems for logging, mining, and cattle grazing are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil, which is fueling the global climate crisis. Drought and increased susceptibility to fires over large parts of the Amazonian landscapes add to this fire risk. Brazil is already experiencing a change in the rainfall patterns, another consequence of forest clearing. Reservoirs for energy generation and water collection for human consumption are at historically low levels, causing a risk of rationing, higher energy bills, and increased food prices due to production loss.



[1] “Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court postpones decisive trial; indigenous peoples keep their resistance against the Marco Temporal thesis.” APIB 30 June 2021.

[2] More information on PL 490 and the threats to Indigenous leadership can be found in this article.



Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: + (678) 644-1681, [email protected] 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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