The government of Mato Grosso do Sul declared this Tuesday, 14, an emergency situation in five municipalities due to fires in the region of Pantanal. 816 fires have been recorded since last Friday in four cities.
The decree signed by the governor Eduardo Riedel (PSDB) and published in an extra edition of Official State Gazette determines that, for the next 90 days, tenders will be suspended to deal with cases with potential loss or compromise of public services, safety of people and public or private assets due to fires in the cities of Corumbá, Ladário, Miranda, Aquidauana and Porto Murtinho . The authorization is only valid for works and services that must be completed within a maximum period of one year.
The current heat wave hitting the country and the low humidity leave the region on “maximum alert”. In the decree, the government cites temperatures above 42°C in Porto Murtinho and Corumbá, according to meteorological data from State Secretariat for Environment, Development, Science, Technology and Innovation/Weather and Climate Monitoring Center).
All over the country, 2,707 municipalities are under maximum alert due to strong heat wave that hits Brazil this week, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet). This represents almost half of the 5,565 Brazilian cities. In Mato Grosso do Sul, at least 80 of them are in this range of attention due to extreme heat.
El Niño and deficient firefighting structure
With fires also consuming the Amazon, the federal government itself admitted that the fire fighting structure in the country is insufficient, but this week he did not present any new additions to the task force for the forest. For Pantanal, the Ministry of the Environment says it has sent more brigade members and promises reinforcement of aircraft.
The worsening of the drought in the 2nd semester due to El Niño was already projected by the international scientific community. The fire has already devastated an area equivalent to four times the size of the city of São Paulo, according to SOS Pantanal.
“The fire grows in a frightening way. We had factors, such as a lightning storm, that worsened the situation, but the truth is that we have a firefighting structure that is less than necessary. Fighting on foot, despite the strength and courage of the brigade members, is humanly impossible”, says Angelo Rabelo, president of the Instituto Homem Pantaneiro. “The Pantanal remains in the background, unfortunately. We must have an agenda to balance biomes. One cannot be saved at the expense of the other.”