Forest fires grow 14% in 2022, says report

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In 2022, Brazil lost more than 163,000 km² of forests to fire, the equivalent of the state of Acre (152,581 km²). The area represents an increase of 14% in relation to the 142.8 thousand km² registered in the previous year.

The data are from Monitor do Fogo, from the Mapbiomas platform in partnership with Ipam (Amazon Environmental Research Institute), and were released on Friday (27).

The tool performs monthly mapping of fire scars across the country, using mosaics of satellite images with a spatial resolution of 10 meters and a temporal resolution of 5 days.

Most of the fires were registered in the Amazon and in the cerrado (together, the two biomes have 95% of the area destroyed). The fires were concentrated in grassland and savannah regions (43%), formations that are found in the cerrado, while 25.4% of the affected area was pasture.

“With the Fire Monitor we can see that the forests in Brazil, mainly those in the Amazon, are being highly impacted by fires. Under natural conditions this should not be happening, which indicates a clear impact of human action on the increase in fire and degradation of these forests”, says Ane Alencar, director of Science at Ipam and coordinator of MapBiomas Fogo, in a press release.

Considering only December, the increase in fires was 93%, compared to the same month of 2021: there were 3,327 km² of area burned last year, compared to 1,748 km² in 2021.

The Amazon concentrated almost two thirds (70%) of the fires in the month. The presence of fire in the biome is directly related to deforestation, as it is used to remove vegetation and clear areas that will be used for agriculture and livestock.

But December was not the only month with an impact from the fire in the Amazon. In August, the forest had a historic record in fires, reaching the highest rate since 2010.

In addition, another defining moment came shortly after the defeat of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in the elections. Amazonian states governed by bolsonaristas and where the former president had a wide vote recorded an explosion in the number of fires. Between the 1st and 16th of November, Amazonas, Acre and Rondônia, the region known as Amacro, had an increase of more than 1,200% in hot spots.

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