Topline: In response to fires scorching the Amazon rainforest, Brazil on Thursday banned legal fires for 60 days as the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, faces international outrage for his handling of the environmental crisis.
- All man-made fires in the Amazon are banned under the new decree signed by Bolsonaro.
- There is an exception for fires that help the life of plants and subsistence farming practices performed by indigenous populations.
- Scientists agree that the fires were likely caused by cattle ranchers and farmers both legally and illegally burning brush and trees to make way for agricultural development.
- Environmentalists claim that Bolsonaro encouraged illegal deforestation and NASA data shows that there has been an uptick in fire activity in 2019, the most since 2010.
Caveat: The fire ban may provide some relief to the area, but it is unclear if those already setting illegal fires will simply ignore the decree.
Key Background: The fires have caused a bitter personal feud between Bolsonaro and French President Emmanuel Macron, which culminated in Bolsonaro refusing $20 million in foreign aid from France and other non-South American nations while accepting help from Chile.
By: Rachel Sandler