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Brazil points fingers over Amazon fires

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 8/22/19, 11:21 am

Brazil has recorded 74,155 wildfires in the country as of Tuesday—an 84 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Grosso, Para, and Amazonas states, all in the Amazon region, account for nearly half of the fires. President Jair Bolsonaro suggested nongovernmental organizations set the rainforest ablaze to make him look bad.

What’s really causing the fires? Some nongovernmental organizations, environmentalists, and others blame the Bolsonaro administration’s pro-development policies. Paulo Moutinho, a co-founder of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, said developers often use fires to clear land for farming or logging, but they can easily get out of control. The head of the country’s space research institute recently stepped down after feuding with Bolsonaro over accusations that the agency manipulated deforestation data to tarnish the administration. European nations have threatened to withhold funds and trade deals from Brazil over its environmental policies.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Mark Bergin’s report on academic disagreements about rainforest management and conservation.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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