Brazil’s Pantanal wetland in flames during harsh drought

The expansive Pantanal floodplain has seen its highest number of fires in 22 years. The majority are started by humans

Mato Grosso do Sul firefighters
Mato Grosso do Sul firefighters beside road. Photo: Secom/MS

Brazil’s Pantanal region is the world’s largest floodplain, home to vast biodiversity that includes endangered animal species such as the jaguar and the blue macaw. Blessed with some of the country’s most picturesque landscapes, it is traditionally a major draw for tourists from within Brazil and abroad. But this expansive wetland is burning, suffering from more forest fires than it has seen in the last 22 years, during an exceptional drought. 

Between January 1 and July 21, the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) recorded 3,415 fires in the region, an increase of 189 percent compared to the same period...

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