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Brazil: July surge in Amazon fires raises fears of repeat of 2019

作者:admin 2020-08-06

The number of fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest jumped 28 percent in July from a year ago, official data shows, as environmentalists warned a jump this week could signal a repeat of last year's surging destruction of the world's largest rainforest.

Brazil's space research agency INPE recorded 6,803 fires in the Amazon last month, up from 5,318 in July 2019. Although that is a three-year high for July, the figure pales in comparison to last year's peak of 30,900 fires in August - a 12-year high for that month.

Still, environmental groups say there are worrying signs of what may come, with the final days of the month showing a sharp spike.

More than 1,000 fires were registered on July 30, the highest number for a single day in July since 2005, according to an analysis by advocacy group Greenpeace Brasil.

"It's a terrible sign," said Ane Alencar, science director at Brazil's Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). "We can expect that August will already be a difficult month and September will be worse yet."

Sixty percent of the Amazon basin region is in Brazil. Since the blaze last year, it has faced global pressure to do more to protect the massive forest, seen as vital to containing the impact of climate change.

The fires are largely set to clear land illegally for farming, ranching and mining.

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