Brazil's Army Fights Amazon Fires After Hundreds More Flare Up

The Quint

Brazil on Sunday deployed two C-130 Hercules aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest, as hundreds of new blazes were ignited ahead of nationwide protests over the destruction.

Heavy smoke covered the city of Porto Velho in the northwestern state of Rondonia where the defense ministry said the planes have started dumping thousands of liters of water, amid a global uproar over the worst fires in years.

Swathes of the remote region bordering Bolivia have been scorched by the blazes, sending thick smoke billowing into the sky and increasing air pollution across the world's largest rainforest, which is seen as crucial to mitigating climate change.

Firefighters En Route

Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year.

Satellite Images From Planet.com Show the Devastating Amazon Fires

At least seven states, including Rondonia, have requested the army's help in the Amazon, where more than 43,000 troops are based and available to combat fires, officials said.

Dozens of firefighters are en route to Porto Velho to help put out the blazes. Justice Minister Sergio Moro has also given the green light for the deployment of security forces to tackle illegal deforestation in the region.

World Leaders Offer Help

The fires have triggered a global outcry and are a major topic of concern at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier offered their countries' assistance.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday he would accept international help to combat wildfires raging in the country's southeast as he suspended his election campaign to deal with the crisis.

Although about 60 percent of the Amazon is in Brazil, the vast forest also spreads over parts of eight other countries or territories: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

Macron's remarks come amid an escalating war of words with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro, who he has accused of lying over Brazil's stance on climate change.

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