Fires linked, according to experts, to deforestation which has accelerated in the country since Jair Bolsonaro came to power.
Brazil has recorded more forest fires in the Amazon in less than nine months than in all of 2021, according to official figures released on Monday. Satellites from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) have identified 75,592 fires in the largest rainforest on the planet since January 2022, compared to 75,090 in total last year.
This month of September is particularly devastating: in just one week, the number of outbreaks detected in the Amazon was already higher than the total for that same month in 2021.
“A Tragedy Foretold”
In September of last year, the institute had recorded 16,742 fires, a number however much lower than in the same month of 2020 (32,017) or than the monthly average recorded between 1998 and 2021 (32,110). But in just three weeks this year, nearly 30,000 outbreaks have already been identified since the start of the month, which could be one of the worst on record.
“These forest fires are an announced tragedy. During the four years of mandate (of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro), we have experienced one of the darkest periods for our environment”, reacted André Freitas, spokesperson for the Brazilian branch of Greenpeace in the Amazon.
“All those who practice illegal activities have taken advantage of this context to advance in the forest”, he regretted.
Deforestation on the rise since 2019
President Bolsonaro, who will seek re-election on October 2, is notably accused of favoring mining and agricultural exploitation in the Amazon, to the detriment of the forest.
According to some experts, deforestation and forest fires are intensifying this year as Jair Bolsonaro is left behind in the polls by the leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who promises to be more rigorous in the preservation of the environment. ‘Amazon.
Since Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by 75% compared to the previous decade. In August, deforestation covered 1,661 km2, nearly double the area deforested over the same period last year (918 km2).