Aug 25, 2019

1,200 new fires identified in Amazon region this week

A burned area after a fire in the Amazon Rainforest in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, on Saturday. Photo: Joao Laet/AFP/Getty Images

Some 1,200 new fires have been identified burning in the Amazon Rainforest region this week, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported Saturday.

By the numbers: There have been 40,341 fires in the Amazon this year, per the New York Times. More than 1,330 square miles burned in the first 7 months of 2019. The largest swaths of the Amazon rainforest, in Brazil and Peru, are burning at the highest rates since records began in 2013 — a rise of 84% compared to the same period last year, according to INPE.

The big picture: Brazil began deploying 44,000 troops on Saturday to fight fires across the region, amid anti-government protests and global condemnation, with 6 states requesting military assistance, according to Al Jazeera.

  • The new fires were ignited Thursday and Friday, according to the official data.
  • The Colorado-based Global SuperTanker sent its Boeing 747-400 firefighting plane to Bolivia on Friday to help fight fires over Bolivia's portion of the rainforest, CNN reports.

Go deeper: Earth's lungs are burning

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G7 leaders agree to $20 million aid package for Amazon fires

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Pool/Getty Images

World leaders at the G7 summit agreed Monday to a $20 million aid package to help Brazil and neighboring South American countries fight fires in the Amazon rainforest, according to an announcement from French President Emmanuel Macron and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Why it matters: Macron has been a main driver in ensuring world leaders address the severe climate impact of deforestation in the Amazon despite Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's refusal of any foreign aid.

Go deeperArrowAug 26, 2019

Bolsonaro demands apology from Macron before accepting $20 million in Amazon aid

France's President Emmanuel Macron and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro at the G20 Summit in Osaka in June. Photo: Jacques Witt/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has said he will only accept a $20 million aid package from G7 nations to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest if French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes, according to the AP.

The big picture: Macron and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have traded barbs on Twitter over the fate of the Amazon, which has seen an 84% increase in wildfires this year compared to 2018. Bolsonaro has described the offer of international help as a “colonialist mentality," while Macron has questioned the Brazilian president's commitment to environmentalism. Per the AP, Bolsonaro says Macron must take back some of his comments "and then we can speak."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 27, 2019

In photos: The devastating impact of the Amazon rainforest fires

How the fires look from space. Photo: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory/Facebook

The Amazon rainforest has been ravaged by hundreds of fires for the past 3 weeks, and the Brazilian government has deployed 44,000 troops to battle the blazes.

Why it matters: World leaders at the G7 summit have pledged a $20 million aid package to help affected South American countries fight the blazes. The BBC notes that from 1980 to 2010, the rainforest's trees are estimated to have pulled in carbon dioxide equivalent to the fossil fuel emissions of most of the 9 countries that own or border it.

See photosArrowAug 27, 2019