'Burning season' in the Amazon is well underway despite fire ban

Tom Clarke

Former Science Editor

Deforestation and Fire Monitoring in the Amazon in August, 2020 Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

Despite banning fires in the Amazon, and even sending in troops to prevent it, the "burning season" in Brazil’s rainforest is well underway, new footage shows.Satellite data shows that between July 16 and August 15 more than 20,000 fires were recorded in the Amazon region - 15,000 of them in the first two weeks of August.Now campaigners with Greenpeace Brazil flew over the states of Amazonas and Rondonia providing some of the first moving images of this year’s destruction.

Last month Brazilian President Jose Bolsanaro imposed a 120 day moratorium on Amazon burning lasting for the region’s dry season.

Pressure had been growing on his administration from global investors after links between illegally deforested land and valuable commodities like beef and soybeans are becoming increasingly difficulty to ignore.

The 'burning season' in Brazil’s Amazon is well underway, new footage show. Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

"The figures show that banning fires alone doesn’t work," says Cristian Mazzetti, Amazon campaigner with Greenpeace Brazil.

"It’s essential to enhance monitoring and enforcement capacity."Evidence emerged last month that Brazil’s largest beef producer JBS was "cattle-laundering" - moving animals from illegally deforested areas to its slaughterhouses.

The company supplies meat to supermarkets including Morrisons and Lidl in the UK.JBS disputes the evidence, saying it has "strict socio-environmental monitoring criteria" and that it is at the forefront of efforts to end cattle laundering.Pressure is growing on UK supermarkets to cut product lines linked to deforestation.

They say they can’t act unless the government passes legislation to outlaw the importation of commodities linked to deforestation.