We have been recording the trail of destruction of the largest fire in the history of the Pantanal since August. We recently traveled to the Serra do Amolar region, one of the biome's most preserved areas.
On the way, we encountered extreme heat, birds that had been incinerated in mid-flight, Pantanal deer that were stranded by fire, a jaguar, and the fierce PiauÃ Brigade, who traveled 4,000 km by car to join efforts against fires.
From above, Campo Grande (MS) appears immersed in a cloud of smoke that occupies the entire troposphere, the atmospheric layer closest to the Earth's surface. The line that separates the blue sky from the stratosphere and the beige air is like the water and oil experiment. The plane starts to descend and plunges into the oil.
From the airport, we drive to CorumbÃ¡, a 428 km trip. The BR-262 news was not good. On Sunday (September 27), poor visibility had caused an accident between two trucks, with one dead.
Three days later, the final stretch, between Miranda and CorumbÃ¡, continues to burn. The wind, one of the fire's main allies, blows so hard that the smoke from the dozens of fires does not rise. It runs vertically.
In the small ponds by the road, dozens of Pantanal deer take refuge in the water, surrounded by burnt vegetation and fire.
In CorumbÃ¡, we traded the car for the speedboat TubarÃ£o Africano 2. On the thermometer, 42ÂºC, at 15h17. In the Paraguay River, which is at the lowest level in its history, dozens of people refreshed themselves in the water.
Usually, when the boat is moving, the breeze relieves the heat. In the hell that has become the Pantanal, it is the opposite: the hot breath of an oven hits the face with the door open. To make matters worse, the smoke causes burning and tears in the eyes.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon