The Amazon has a 286% increase in fires in February

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Government of Roraima declared an emergency situation due to the fires. Photo: Chagas Neto.

The Amazon recorded a 286% increase in fires in February this year, compared to the same period in 2023. The data is in the Monitoring of Active Fires of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) and was updated until last Sunday (25).

According to Inpe, the Amazon recorded 2,838 hot spots in February 2024. In the same period last year, the number of hot spots in the biome was 734. There was, therefore, a significant increase in fires.

Romulo Batista, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, emphasizes that the Amazon does not catch fire alone and the fires in the biome, especially in Roraima, are caused by human action.

“The origin of the fires in the Amazon this year is the same as in other years. The Amazon forest is a humid tropical forest and does not catch fire or it is very rare for it to catch fire naturally”, emphasizes Romulo Batista.

Inpe data for February is not yet finalized, as the month has not yet ended. However, the number of fires this year for the period already exceeds those recorded in the last seven years.

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Fire in Roraima

Roraima was the federation unit with the highest number of fire outbreaks recorded throughout February this year. Until last Sunday, the state had 1,981 hot spots.

The municipalities that record the highest number of fires are also in Roraima. They are: Mucajaí, Caracaraí, Amajari, Rorainópolis, Iracema, Alto Alegre, Cantá, Bonfim and Boa Vista, the state capital.

Ane Alencar, director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam) and coordinator of MapBiomas Fogo, explains that the large number of hot spots in Roraima is the result of fire management carried out in the state.

According to Ipam’s science director, the climate phenomenon El Niño is also one of those responsible for the significant increase in fires in the Amazon biome. According to her, the phenomenon gained a large proportion last year, which influenced the increase in outbreaks at the beginning of 2024.

“This all affects the global climate system and has the effect of potentiating these climate events that have generated a condition of high temperatures and drought in some regions of the planet, primarily the north of the Amazon”, says Ane Alencar.

The Ipam science director adds that the fires recorded at the beginning of this year in Roraima were already predicted by researchers in 2023, which, according to her, provided a period for the authorities to take action to avoid an escalation in the outbreaks.

“Inpe data shows that Roraima had already broken records every month. It is very predictable that when the dry season arrived in the state, we would have this problem”, reinforces Ane Alencar.

“Working on the prevention and use of fire, especially in a state like Roraima, where a large part of the state is covered by vegetation that is not forestry, more savannah. We really have to be very careful so that this fire does not spread” adds the director of science at Ipam.

“This fire was deliberately set to destroy this forest, or when an area of ​​pasture continued to burn, this fire ended up spreading into the forest. In short, the main origin is the anthropic origin that we talk about, the origin is the man setting fire, whether in a pasture area, next door or directly in the forest to practice, to let it spread”, explains the spokesperson for Greenpeace.

The report contacted the Ministry of the Environment and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) about actions to contain the fires in the Amazon, but received no response. The space remains open.

Fires in Brazil

The Amazon alone is responsible for 71% of the hot spots recorded throughout February. Next comes the Cerrado (15.2%), Atlantic Forest (7.8%), Caatinga (3.5%), Pantanal (1.7%) and Pampa (0.8%).

The Atlantic Forest and Pantanal also saw an increase in fires in February. On the other hand, the Caatinga, Pampa and Cerrado recorded a decline in the same period.

The Pantanal had 69 hot spots in February 2024, compared to nine hot spots in the same period last year.

With 320 fires in the first 25 days of February this year, the Atlantic Forest already exceeds the 271 fires detected in the second month of 2023.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Amazon increase fires February

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