Environmental crisis

Brazilian state declares emergency for wildfires in the Pantanal biome

One million hectares engulfed by fires in 40 days in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul

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Wildfires scar Corumbá, the fourth most populous city in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul / Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE)

The governor of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Reinaldo Azambuja, declared a state of emergency due to wildfires that have engulfed more than one million hectares (2.5 million acres) in 40 days, between Aug. 1 and Sep. 9. Most of the areas devastated are part of the Pantanal biome. The data were disclosed by the Brazilian environmental agency Ibama.

The region has been facing a drought for the past 45 days and has registered 1,579 fires in September alone – the highest rate since 2008. 

Corumbá, the fourth most populous city in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, suffered the worst impact in the country in September, registering 634 fires, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported.

On Tuesday, the neighboring state Mato Grosso also declared a state of emergency, which means it will be entitled to receive more money and human resources from the Army and the Ministry of Regional Integration.

The Mato Grosso do Sul government said 250 firefighters are working in the most critical areas: the indigenous land Kadwéu, the villages of Limão Verde and Taunay/Ipegue, and the Caiman Ecological Refuge. Trained fire brigades were also deployed to villages and preservation areas to fight the fires.

Rain is not expected in the region for another 10 days.

Edition: João Paulo Soares