Forest Fire

Politics • American • Brazil
Amazon has the highest number of fires since 2010
Smoke from the Amazon fires covers the sun in Manaus, Brazil
Smoke from the Amazon fires covers the sun in Manaus, Brazil Credit: Alberto Cesar Araujo/Amazônia Real)

Data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows that the number of hot spots recorded in the Amazon so far in 2020 is the highest for the period since 2010. In 2020, 56,425 fires were recorded in the region, an increase of 6% in relation to the same period of the previous year.

In 2010 the satellites used by INPE detected 72,946 hot spots in the biome between January 1st and September 9th.

Climate & Environment
Californian suffers from shortage of firefighters due to Covid-19 lockdown at prison camps
Californian suffers from shortage of firefighters due to Covid-19 lockdown at prison camps
Credit: unsplash.com / Tom Blackout

According to prison officials, 12 of California's 43 inmate fire camps have been placed on lockdown. As a result, only 30 of 77 inmate crews are available to assist in combating the wildfires.

A spokeswoman for Cal Fire, Battalion Chief Amy Head, has stated that "we’re doing our best to plan ahead" adding: “Thankfully, we haven’t had anything too big to deal with yet".

Climate & Environment
Over two dozens wildfires in California - multiple dead, thousands on the run
Over two dozens wildfires in California - multiple dead, thousands on the run
Credit: unsplash.com / Joanne Francis

The residents of the three affected counties of Napa County, Lake County and Sonoma County have been called on by authorities to leave their homes as multiple wildfires are rapidly spreading and threatening 30,000 homes.

At least four people have died and 550 homes have been destroyed. Over 10,000 firefighters across California have been deployed.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazil: Slash-and-burn will be paused in the rainforest
Brigadistas of Prevfogo / Ibama participate in joint operation to fight fires in the Amazon
Brigadistas of Prevfogo / Ibama participate in joint operation to fight fires in the Amazon Credit: Ibama from Brasil / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

By decree, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles have banned the slash-and-burn practice in the Amazon rainforest for 4 months.

A study published by the US science journal "Science" shows that about a fifth of Brazil's annual soy and beef exports to the European Union come from illegally cleared areas. Around 500,000 tons of soy from illegal deforestation in Brazil was exported into the European Union between 2009 and 2017. Bolsonaro is repeatedly criticized for its environmental policy by economy and environmentalists. At the moment, investors distancing themselves from his environmental policy and are calling on the government to take concrete steps against the destruction of the rainforest.

60 per cent of the world's tropical rainforest is located in Brazil. This year 25 per cent more forest was destroyed than in the same period in 2019.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazilian Goverment bans fires in Amazon rainforest

Vice President Hamilton Mourão announced the Brazilian Government is banning setting fires in the Amazon for 120 days. The announcement happened after a video-conference with representatives from foreign investment funds.

The Brazilian government has started new talks with Germany and Norway on the Amazon Fund and Mourão expects they will overcome differences over policy that last year stalled funding of sustainability projects.

"We managed to present positive results in the second semester in relation to the fires, it is something that can be put on the negotiating table, saying 'look, we are doing our part, now you will do your part again,' said Mourão.

Politics • American • Brazil
Amazon fires are the highest for June since 2007
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019.
Amazon fires captured from the ISS on August 24, 2019. Credit: ESA / NASA – L. Parmitano (Public Domain)

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) announced the detection of 2,248 fire spots in the Amazon during June. The number is the highest recorded for the month since 2007. Also, with an average of 75 fires a day, June 2020 saw an increase of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Activists say the Covid-19 outbreak exacerbates the problem, as they believe arson is likely to be even less monitored while authorities are dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Forest fires in Brazil are mainly started deliberately by illegal loggers and farmers wanting to quickly clear ground.

Historically, fire spots in the rainforest increase throughout the dry season, from July to September.

Climate & Environment
Forest fire near Chernobyl nuclear site leads to radiation spikes

Following a forest fire in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, a spike of radiation has been reported by the Ukrainian state ecological inspection service. To combat the fire the government has mobilized around 100 firefighters and uses planes and a helicopter. The emergency service has said that no increase in radiation in the air has been detected, no people are in danger and that the fire was not visibly burning on Sunday morning.