Typically in Brazil, fires usually increase in August and September. Usually these fires are started when ranchers clear the trees in order to create more farmland. After clearing the land of trees, the land is then burned.
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsanoro, is known to be in support of clearing trees in the Amazon in order to have more farm space, but this year he promised to control the fires, and banned the burning of trees for four months. He even went as far as sending out troops to prevent or fight any more fires.
But, in August there was an increase in fires, and currently, even more can be seen. In late August, there was an intense and thick smoke around Novo Progresso. The police reported car accidents due to such low visibility. Even so, there are people in the town who believe it is necessary to continue burning these fires. Local businessman Claudio Herculano believes that the increase in farmland has allowed the town to grow and prosper.
However, many activists are concerned because if this pattern continues, it will likely lead to the Amazon forest no longer being able to sustain itself, and turning into a grassland or tropical savannah. There have been more than 15,000 fires this year, a much higher number than last year. Many of these fires have gotten out of control, and even local farmers weren’t expecting their farms to also fall victim to the flames.
President Bolsanoro has said that critics, the press, and environmental specialists are over exaggerating the situation, and that the issue isn’t that serious. Foreign and Brazilian investors have now threatened to avoid buying the products of a country that doesn’t care about the environment.