May has worst fire rates in the Amazon, Cerrado at 20-year high

May has worst fire rates in the Amazon in 18 years
Illegal fire in the Cerrado savanna area, in the outskirts of Brasília. Photo: Marcos Casiano/Shutterstock

May recorded new records for forest fires in Brazil. In the Amazon, there was the highest number of fires for the month in 18 years. The cumulative figure for the first five months of 2022 is already 22 percent higher than the same period last year.

In the Cerrado biome, it was the May with the highest number of fires since 1998, the beginning of the historical series of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe).

Last week, another report pointed out that deforestation in the Atlantic Forest, off the country’s coast, has increased by 66 percent compared to 2021, reaching the highest level in six years.

Experts point out that the high volume for May brings concern that the year will be especially devastating. The period with the most fires is usually between August and September, during the dry season.

Annoyed by INPE’s frequent fire alerts, which attract the attention of the international community, the federal government decided to create a working group to reclassify what is considered fire and deforestation. There will be no participation of any technician from Inpe, which has been doing this work for decades.