The main suspects for the "Day of the Fire," which occurred on August 10 and 11, are farmers, loggers, and businessmen, according to investigations by the Civil and Federal Police to which Repórter Brasil had access.
Also, according to police, those responsible held a "crowdfunding campaign" to pay the costs of fuel - a mixture of diesel oil and gasoline - used to spread the flames. In addition, they hired bikers to enter dirt roads near the forest by spreading the flammable liquid.
Following the coordinated burning of pasture and deforestation, the city of Novo Progresso, Pará, experienced a 300% increase in outbreaks in those two days.
One of the first suspects heard by the Civil Police is Agamemnon Menezes, president of the
Union of Rural Producers of the city and target of search and seizure operation of the Federal Police on Tuesday (22).
Operation Pact of Fire seized documents at the union's headquarters, as well as Menezes's personal computer. Police officers carried out three other search and seizure warrants but did not say what the targets were.
"Those who shouldn't aren't scared," Menezes said by telephone after his computer was seized on Tuesday. In a previous interview, held in early October, Menezes denied that farmers strategized to burn the forest and attributed the increased outbreaks of fire to the dry season.
The Civil Police were already investigating businessman Ricardo de Nadai, owner of the Sertão Agropecuaria store. He was reportedly the creator of a WhatsApp group called Sertão, with 70 members, where details about the day of the fire were planned.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon