Brazil Begins Fighting Amazon Fires After Local and International Outcry

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has previously described rain forest protections as an obstacle to Brazil’s economic development

Smoke billowing from fires in the forest in the Amazon biome in the municipality of Altamira, Para State, Brazil, August 23, 2019
AFP

Brazil says military aircraft and 44,000 troops will be available to fight fires sweeping through parts of the Amazon region.

The defense and environment ministers on Saturday described plans to battle the blazes that have prompted an international outcry as well as demonstrations in Brazil against President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the environmental crisis.

Bolsonaro on Friday authorized the military to get involved in putting out the fires, saying he is committed to protecting the Amazon region.

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Bolsonaro has previously described rainforest protections as an obstacle to Brazil’s economic development, sparring with critics who say the Amazon absorbs vast amounts of greenhouse gasses and is crucial for efforts to contain climate change.

Many of the fires were set in already deforested areas by people clearing farmland.