June Amazon rainforest fires reach a 15-year high

June Amazon rainforest fires reach a 15-year high
Deforested area in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Op VERDE BRASIL/17

New data released by Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, which tracks deforestation and forest fires using satellite imagery, shows 2,562 fires in the Amazon rainforest throughout June. That’s the highest number for the month since 2007, when 3,519 fires were recorded. 

The record for June is still held by 2004, with 9,179 fires.

Since the beginning of the year, the Amazon biome has already had more than 7,000 outbreaks.

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest has increased since Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019. His government has been systematically reducing efforts to fight and prevent illegal logging, ranching, and mining.

And environmental crimes are just one of the biome’s problems. The 16th Brazilian Public Security Yearbook, released on Tuesday, shows that the rate of lethal violence in the Legal Amazon region is 38 percent higher than the national average.

The murder of the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and the British journalist Dom Phillips is an emblematic case of this violence and of a region than can be described as a “land without law.”

A week ago, data from Imazon, an NGO, showed that rainforest deforestation was also at a 15-year high: 3,360 square kilometers of forest were lost.