Brasilia, Aug 25: Six states in Brazil’s Amazon region have requested military help to combat record fires that are tearing through the rainforest, provoking an international outcry because of its central role in combating global warming.
The states of Para, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins, Acre and Mato Grosso - out of the region’s nine - have requested military assistance, media reports quoted spokeswoman for the president’s office, a day after President Jair Bolsonaro authorised the military to step in.
The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and its protection is seen as vital to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
"Brazil has 44,000 troops stationed in its northern Amazon region that are available to combat forest fires and could send more from elsewhere in the country," said Raul Botelho, the joint chief of staff for the country’s military.
Environmentalists have said that farmers clearing land for pasture were responsible for the uptick in fires.
Similarly, Sirkis blamed the fires on speculators seeking to clear the land they hope to later sell for farming, saying they have been emboldened by Bolsonaro’s strong rhetoric in favor of development of the Amazon region.
Bolsonaro enraged critics on Wednesday when he accused non-governmental organisations of burning down the Amazon rainforest to hurt his government. But on Thursday he admitted for the first time that farmers might be involved in lighting fires in the region.
Although the rainforest is currently in its annual dry season, which lasts from July to November, weather maps show it is raining in some areas of the Amazon right now. (UNI)