Brazil Sees Increase in Forest Fires

Brazil Sees Increase in Forest Fires

13 September 2014

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Brazil — New data published by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research indicates a 160 percent increase in forest fires during September.
According to a new satellite data collected by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) found that in September there were 15,622 forest fires across Brazil, which marks an increase of over 160 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

The increase in forest fires is believed to be caused by a combination of slash-and-burn agricultural techniques, declining levels of precipitation and deforestization, which in turn, creates much drier conditions due to exposure to the wind and sun, increasing the risk of wildfires spreading inside the forest.

Due to the impacts of climate change, change is expected to warm the air in the Amazon region by several degrees and substantially reduce regional precipitation, making understanding the interactions between droughts and fires even more important.

As a result of the findings, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has recommended efforts to install natural firebreaks as well as providing land management courses to local populations.

Despite the sharp increase in forest fires, a 2014 report by the Union Of Concerned Scientists found that 80 percent of the original Amazon forest remains standing, and deforestation rates in Brazil are down 70 percent in 2013 compared with the 1996–2005 average.

The data also revealed that Mato Grosso is the state most affected by fires, followed by Para and Maranhao. Together, the three states have accounted for nearly 44 percent of all outbreaks during September.


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