Pantanal Suffers from Record September Fires

The biome recorded 6,048 fires until the 23rd; previous records were from August 2005 and last month

São Paulo

September 2020, although not yet complete, has already recorded the largest number of fires in the history of the Pantanal.

Until September 23, 6,048 fires were recorded in the biome, according to data from the Queimadas Program, from Inpe (National Institute for Space Research). The previous total record was August 2005, with 5,993 hot spots. Then, August 2020, with 5,935 outbreaks. On the 16th, the biome's number of hot spots had already surpassed any value registered in the previous September months. Inpe has been monitoring fires in the country since 1998.

Santo Antonio Leverger, MT. 19/09/2020. ( Foto: Lalo de Almeida/ Folhapress )

The Pantanal is experiencing the worst drought recorded in the last 60 years, according to Cemadem (National Center for Monitoring and Natural Disaster Alerts).

The situation had been critical for months. The Pantanal's wetter period had little rain, and 2020's first semester recorded the highest number of fires on record in the biome. July also had the highest fire record, and August maintained a high number of hot spots, close to the record.

Flames in the Pantanal have consumed more than 21% of the biome since the beginning of the year.

Investigations and satellite data show that fires started on nine farms consumed 141,000 hectares in the Pantanal. The fires started in four of them, identified by the Federal Police (PF), in Operation Matáá, consumed 25 thousand hectares. The other five rural properties are located in Mato Grosso and started fires that destroyed 116,773 hectares.

The survey is by the NGO Repórter Brasil after crossing data from the Centro de Vida Institute (ICV) with the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).

August and September are historically the most critical months concerning fire in the Pantanal and other Brazilian biomes, which are also suffering from the fires this year.

In September, the fire record and the very high number in August happen despite the ban on the use of fire in both the Pantanal and the Amazon.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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