Thousands of men are mobilized in Brazil to fight the hundreds of new forest fires raging across the country, the most devastating in the Amazon in recent years.
The governors of the states concerned are authorized since Saturday to use the military to fight against the flames and fight crime in the region. So far, seven states, including Rondonia, have appealed to the military. Some 43,000 soldiers permanently based in the Amazon are available to fight fires, said Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva.
In addition, six firefighting aircraft were sent to the scene, including two C-130 Hercules from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), capable of carrying 12,000 liters of water. A brigade of 30 firefighters must also leave Brasilia Sunday.
>> Read: The Amazon burns, Bolsonaro firefighter-pyromaniac
Some 1,663 new fires broke out between Thursday 22 and Friday, August 23, according to the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE).
In the Amazon, when a forest is cleared, the trunks are washed away but the rest of the vegetation is burned on site during the dry season, which lasts from July to November. For farmland, or grasslands, vegetation and weeds are also piled up, waiting for the dry season. That's what's burning right now, say the experts.
The boss of INPE was sacked in early August after publishing data on deforestation deemed untrue by Jair Bolsonaro: they showed that deforestation in July was almost four times higher than that recorded in the same month of 2018.