Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that forest fires in the Amazon did not exist, despite official data suggesting thousands of fires have been declared in the region.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday strongly denied the occurrence of forest fires in the Amazon, citing “a lie”, despite government information suggesting that thousands of fires have broken out across the region.
Earlier, the right-wing leader had previously denied an uprising in fires in the Amazon rainforest and exchanged diatribes with French President Emmanuel Macron and other heads of state.
Jair Bolsonaro also stated when Reuters witnesses in the Amazon city of Apui observed clouds of smoke in various places during the day and large fires that lit up the sky after dark.
A statement contrary to the information provided by the Brazilian government: in the first ten days of August, more than 10,000 fires were recorded, an increase of 17% compared to the same period last year.
In August last year, the number of forest fires in the Amazon reached a nine-year high, and data collected so far this month suggest that the situation is getting worse. More than 10,000 fires were reported during the first ten days of the month, an increase of 17% from the same period last year.
For experts, deforestation is one of the biggest causes of these fires. In one year, it has increased by more than 34%.
“They will not find a single source of fire”
Still, during a speech with other South American leaders, Jair Bolsonaro urged his audience to fly across the Amazon between the distant cities of Boa Vista and Manaus to realize that no flame was visible.
“They will not find a single source of fire, not a single hectare of deforestation,” said the former army officer. “This story, that the Amazon is on fire, is a lie and we have to fight it with the real numbers,” he added.
Jair Bolsonaro assured that Brazil had shown its ability to protect the Amazon itself because the majority of the forest, the world’s largest carbon sink, was still there.