The Brazilian National Space Research Institute (INPE) released satellite data showing that two days after the government decided to issue its ban on burning lands, almost 4,000 new fires started, with more than half of them taking place in the Amazon.
The South American country has had more than 72,000 fire outbreaks up to this point this year. This represents an 84 percent increase in comparison with the same period in 2018. The vast majority of the fires affected the rainforest.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro said he was confronting the #AmazonFires crisis by imposing a 60 day ban on fire-setting. Yet nearly 2,000 new fires have started in the Amazon in the past 48 hours. More action is needed from Bolsonaro to REALLY stop the fires. https://t.co/5K9s3Yesbo
Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, however, dismissed the reports, minimized the situation and refused US$20 million help from the European Union, saying he would perhaps change his mind and accept the assistance under the condition French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes for calling him “rude.”
The majority of fires are due to human activity as farmers intentionally set them up in order to make space for their crops.
On August 7, three days before fires in the Novo Progresso region became uncontrollable, the Federal Prosecutor's Office of the State of Para warned the Environmental Institute of Brazil (Ibama) that rich landlords were going to perform "A Day of Fire", an environmentally dangerous event without any by control by the Justice Ministry.
According to an investigation carried out by the Brazilian General Prosecutor's Office, at least US$4.8 million would be involved in recent episodes of deforestation at the Amazon and Pantanal, where fires have been most intense in the last five years.
The Federal Ministry is also investigating the "Day of Fire", an event organized by landowners and land traders whose purpose was to "clean the forests" in order to plant pastures later.
Meanwhile, the forest which is home for an estimated million indigenous people and three million species of plants and animals is burning at an alarming rate.