Almost 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said on Monday. However, we have not yet reached peak wildfire season and already numbers have surpassed the previous record (2016 had more than 68,000 fires) and are up 83 percent on the same period a year ago.
Bolsonaro's comments are likely to enrage critics, who have become increasingly concerned by his administration's attitudes toward the Amazon rainforest, one of the world's most important bulwarks against climate change.
Images show the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires.
A combination of meteorological events paired with smoke that had traveled hundreds of miles from intense forest fires in remote parts of the Amazon caused a period of sudden midday darkness in the most populous city in the Western Hemisphere on Monday, reports The Washington Post.
Mr Bolsonaro had accused Mr Galvão of trying to undermine the government by "lying" about the scale of deforestation in the Amazon.Читайте также: Sean Spicer set to join Dancing with the Stars
They are common in the dry season, but are also deliberately set by farmers illegally deforesting land for cattle ranching.
However INPE said the large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone. It said it had detected 9,500 fires since Thursday, the majority of which are in the Amazon region.
Asked about the spread of uncontrolled fires, Mr Bolsonaro brushed off criticism, saying it was the time of the year of the "queimada" or burn, when farmers use fire to clear land. "I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. But it is the season of the queimada", he told reporters.
Environmental activists, meanwhile, pointed to a recent increase in deforestation as the trigger for the fires. The INPE recently released data which showed that 370 square miles of Amazon forest were lost in June - an 88% increase from the same month past year. Bolonsaro denied the increases as "lies" that hurt the country's reputation and later fired the director of the INPE.
Admittedly, annual wildfire rates in the Brazilian Amazon have only been tracked since 2013. California, which saw violently destructive wildfires last year, is still not off-the-hook, with meteorologists saying its worst wildfire could still erupt this year.
Earlier this month, Norway and Germany suspended funding for projects to curb deforestation in Brazil after becoming alarmed by rising deforestation under Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro said then that the findings were inaccurate, and the president appears to be taking a similar stance in the wake of news of the fires.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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