Nearly 3000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon a record for

Nearly 3,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon, a record for the month of February

Nearly 3,000 wildfires were recorded in the Brazilian Amazon in February, a record for this month of the year since records began in 1999, authorities announced Wednesday.

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According to satellite images from the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE), 2,940 fires were recorded during the month, 67% more than the 1,761 fires registered in February 2007, the previous record.

The value for February 2024 is four times higher than in the same month last year.

The largest rainforest on earth is one of the world's most important ecosystems for stabilizing the global climate threatened by warming.

“The climatic factor certainly plays a fundamental role” in this outbreak of fires concentrated in the north of the region, said Ane Alencar, scientific director of the NGO Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM Amazonia).

“We have seen the Earth break one temperature record after another. Every year is the hottest year and it is related to climatic phenomena,” she added.

Between June and November 2023, the Amazon was hit by a historic drought, affecting millions of people across the Amazon basin, sparking massive wildfires, shrinking major waterways and causing catastrophic damage to wildlife.

This environmental “stress,” Ms. Alencar said, “creates all the necessary conditions for any fire to become a major fire.”

“However, the fires were probably started by people in their agricultural work,” believes this manager, whose structure is part of the Climate Observatory network.

Some experts believe that the natural weather phenomenon El Nino was responsible for last year's drought in the Amazon region.

However, a study published in January by scientists at World Weather Attribution (WWA) concluded that climate change, caused by carbon pollution emitted by the planet, is the main cause.

When leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva returned to power in January 2023, he could boast of a drastic decline in deforestation within a year.

His government is questioning the widespread practice of fires among agricultural actors to prepare land for crops or livestock. “There is no natural fire in the Amazon,” Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva said in October.