Multi-National Aerial Firefighting Response Mobilizing to Combat Amazon Fires

The fires in Brazil, where a majority of the Amazon is located, have swept across more than 4 million acres, according to government officials. In neighboring Bolivia, more than 1.8 million acres have burned.

Brazil is using its military to fight the fires in seven states and deployed warplanes to dump thousands of gallons of water in the state of Rondônia, near Bolivia.

This year to date, almost 80,000 fires have been observed across Brazil, the most since at least 2013, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research.

While some of the blazes are due to uncontrolled wildfires, environmental groups say that many are the work of farmers who are clearing land illegally to be used for cattle and agricultural farming. They say those farmers have become more emboldened under Bolsonaro, who took office in January with the view that developing the Amazon would propel Brazil’s economy.

Most of the fires are starting in agricultural areas and are relatively easy to control and put out, said Rachael Garrett, an assistant professor of environmental policy at the Swiss university ETH Zürich and an expert in Brazilian land use. But when they escape from their intended locations, they grow much bigger.

Santiago de Chile, Aug 27 (Prensa Latina) The first of four National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) planes prepared by Chile to help fight fires in the Amazon, departed this Tuesday for Brazil.
The Air Tractor AT-802 aircraft, took off from the Arturo Merino airport in Santiago de Chile with two pilots, while two mechanics flew to Brazil on a commercial flight.

According to CONAF, three more planes will be added in the next few days, while at the moment there are no plans to send brigade members to help contain the thousands of fires that in recent weeks have devastated large areas of the Amazon.

CONAF pointed out that the AirTractor is a US-manufactured single engine air tanker, specially designed to fight forest fires.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed his country’s support to help extinguish the Amazon fires.”People around the world are shocked and devastated to see the Amazon engulfed in flames,” he said at a news conference during the conclusion of the G7 Summit in France.The leader said Canada is offering to send water bombers and $15 million to help the affected regions.

Trudeau also added that Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland had already “reached out to her counterparts in Brazil and Bolivia” to offer aid.

“We could pretend that the situation in the Amazon is just part of a natural cycle but that’s not exactly what’s going on here,” Trudeau said Monday. “The toll of human activity and extreme weather events on our communities, our environment, our health and our world will continue to climb unless we take decisive action.”G7 country leaders have already applied pressure on the Brazilian government to respond to the fires. Some of the countries — which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — said they would block a trade deal between the European Union and Brazil’s economic and political bloc unless the country takes action.Other political and civil society leaders as well as celebrities around the world have also called for an end to the destruction of the forest.The Amazon, often referred to as “the planet’s lungs,” has been burning at an alarming rate this year — the highest rate since 2013. More than one and a half soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every single minute, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.

And that’s a big deal.The Amazon is the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world. It is home to at least 10% of the world’s biodiversity and produces 20% of the world’s oxygen.It also helps regulate the temperature of the entire planet and without it, climate change could become irreversible.”We believe that climate change is a real and existential threat to our planet and that’s why as a country and as a government we have moved forward unequivocally in leadership on climate change,” Trudeau said.

Two Brazilian C-130 Hercules military planes have been sent to the Amazon state of Rondonia to put out the massive fire raging in the world’s largest tropical rain forest from over two weeks.

The warplanes have been sent to dump thousands of gallons of water on the burning forests.

“As of Sunday, President Jair Bolsonaro had authorized military operations in seven states to combat raging fires in the Amazon at the request from their local governments,” a spokeswoman for his office was quoted as saying by Reuters.

A video posted by the Defense Ministry shows a military plane bailing water out of two giant jets as it passed through clouds of smoke close to the forest canopy.

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules four-engine turboprop military plane originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. It can be modified to perform a variety of roles such as gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting.

The Amazon experienced an 84% surge in wildfires this year, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) space agency. The agency reports its satellite data has detected more than 72,000 fires since January 2019. The rainforest is seen as vital to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide that it absorbs, it provides 20% of the planet’s oxygen and is home to one million indigenous people as well as three million species of plants and animals.

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