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Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin
Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin
DAILYNEWS The unprecedented surge in fires has occurred since Bolsonaro took office in January vowing to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation.
Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, which ends in late October or early November, but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally clear forest for cattle ranching.
INPE said the large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.
"There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average," said INPE researcher Alberto Setzer.
Asked about the agency's findings, Bolsonaro brushed off widespread concerns, saying it was the time of the year of the "queimada" or burn, when farmers use fire to clear land.
"I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
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