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Fires in Brazilian wetlands rise 980%, extreme dry spell expected

Fires in Brazil's Pantanal wetlands have actually surged nearly significantly so far this year to the highest levels because 2020, when the biome suffered its worst blazes on record.

Satellite information from Brazil's National Institute for Area Research (INPE) showed a 980% increase in the number of fires in the Pantanal through June 5, compared with the exact same duration of in 2015. The figures have actually raised alarms as the area heads into the riskiest season for wildfires, which typically starts in July and peaks in August and September.

It's one of the worst starts of year in regards to locations considering that the start of the historic series in 1998, stated Vinicius Silgueiro, territorial intelligence coordinator at local NGO Instituto Centro de Vida.

The Pantanal wetlands, approximately 10 times the size of the Florida everglades, are home to jaguars, tapirs, caimans, anacondas and giant anteaters. Weak rains considering that late last year have interfered with the typical seasonal flooding, leaving more of the region susceptible to fires.

What's most worrying is that even in the rainy season we had this boost in fires, Silgueiro stated.

He cautioned that the Pantanal is likely to face another strong dry spell this year, after a wet season with rains 60% below the average, according to data from Brazil's National Institute of Meteorology (INMET).

The latest surge in fires comes after irregular blazes at the end of 2023, when the El Nino environment phenomenon delayed the rainy season, causing 4,134 fires registered in November, compared to a historical average of 584 for the month.

Brazil's government signed a pact on Wednesday with state governors in the Pantanal and Amazon regions to eliminate wildfires. Mato Grosso do Sul, a state including most of the nation's. Pantanal, has already stated an environmental emergency.