The season of Brazilian forest fires has begun, and early data plus severe drought is sparking concern that nationwide destruction in 2021 will stay at the high levels recorded in the past two years, despite efforts to tamp down the blazes.
The government space agency that uses satellites to monitor fires reported more area burned in the month of July than in any July since 2016, according to data released Thursday. The same was true for June.
Most Brazilian blazes are manmade, often started illegally by land-grabbers clearing forest for cattle or crops. Fires tend to begin increasing in June and peak in September, according to historical data. They can easily get out of control during the dry season, burning large swaths of forest to the ground.
Brazil is home to the world’s largest rainforest and tropical wetlands — the Amazon and Pantanal — which saw dramatic fires in 2019 and 2020, respectively, that caused the greatest annual forest loss since 2015. That drew global criticism of the response from the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly called for development of the region.
This year, it’s the Cerrado savanna stretching across Brazil’s center-west region that is suffering more than usual. An area almost as big as Connecticut and New Jersey burned there in the first seven months of 2021. Lets Analyze how over the years Forest Fires have grown from 1998 till 2017.
We can observe that the Northeast is the region with the highest number of fires, this is even expected because it is the driest region in relation to the others.
We can observe that the state of Mato Grosso is the one with the highest number of fires in relation to other states, with Paraíba being the second state and São Paulo the third state. Let’s look at the number of fires by regions.
Between the month of May and the month of December is considered the driest period in Brazil. That’s why we can see that there is more fire in this period. But we are analyzing all states. Therefore, we cannot consider that this relatively dry period is the only factor in the increase in the number of fires.