Environment

Flames return to the Pantanal, scientists fear disaster

Brazil's Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, was devastated by fires last year. Blazes have returned and experts warn that droughts could make 2021 even worse for the region

fire bonito pantanal
Fire marshals in Bonito. Photo: André Eduardo Delgado Marti/CBMMS

One year ago, Brazil’s Pantanal — the world’s largest wetland area — endured the most severe wave of fires in its history. Over the space of three months, authorities reported over 21,000 blazes, many of them in isolated and hard-to-reach locations. Footage of animals being burned alive shocked the world.

Last week, the flames returned to the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, home to the lion’s share of the Pantanal. In conservation areas and tourist spots Bonito and Jardim — on the outskirts of the wetland — fires have been destroying natural vegetation for the...

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