Brazilian Wetland Wildfires Escalate 980%, May Lead To Extreme Drought

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Brazilian Wetland Wildfires Escalate 980%, May Lead To Extreme Drought

Brazilian wetland wildfires have escalated dramatically this year. The number of wildfires has increased nearly tenfold, marking the highest levels since 2020, a year when the region faced its worst fires on record.

Alarming Increase in Brazilian Wetland Wildfires

Satellite data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) revealed a shocking 980% rise in fires in the Pantanal up to June 5. This is compared to the same period last year. The figures are alarming as the region moves into its most dangerous wildfire season, which starts in July and peaks in August and September.

It’s one of the worst starts of the year in terms of hot spots since 1998,” said Vinicius Silgueiro, territorial intelligence coordinator at Instituto Centro de Vida, a local NGO.

Brazilian wetland wildfires

Impact on Wildlife and Environment

The Pantanal wetlands, which are about ten times the size of the Florida Everglades, are home to diverse wildlife including jaguars, tapirs, caimans, anacondas, and giant anteaters. Weak rains since late last year have disrupted the usual seasonal flooding, making more areas prone to fires.

What’s most worrying is that even in the rainy season, we had this increase in fires,” Silgueiro said. He warned that the Pantanal is likely to face another severe drought this year. The wet season saw rains 60% below average, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (INMET).

The latest surge in fires follows unusual blazes at the end of 2023. The El Niño climate phenomenon delayed the rainy season, causing 4,134 fires in November, compared to a historical average of 584 for the month.

Government Response and Future Concerns

In response to the escalating wildfires, Brazil’s government signed a pact on Wednesday with state governors in the Pantanal and Amazon regions to combat the fires. Mato Grosso do Sul, a state containing most of the country’s Pantanal, has already declared an environmental emergency.

The government and local authorities are now on high alert as they brace for the peak wildfire season. The ongoing dry conditions and the forecast of another strong drought could spell disaster for the region’s unique ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Efforts to control the fires and protect the Pantanal’s biodiversity are crucial. The current situation of escalating Brazilian wetland wildfires highlights the urgent need for stronger environmental policies and better fire management strategies to preserve one of the world’s most vital wetlands. The coming months will be critical in determining the extent of the damage and the effectiveness of the measures taken to combat these devastating wildfires.

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Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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