Responding to the global outcry over the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rain forest Amazon, Brazilian warplanes are dropping water on the burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia. On Sunday, President Jair Bolsonaro directed the militaries in seven states to fight against fires in the forest.
His declaration comes after local governments requested for help, said a spokeswoman for his office. Near the state capital of Porto Velho, huge areas larger than football fields had been burned but active fires were restrained by firefighting brigade from being spread to small areas of individual trees.
The team of firefighters from an environmental enforcement agency Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) easily cleared brush from around a burning piece with a leaf blower, doused it with jets connected to water packs mounted on their backs and covered it in the earth.
On Saturday, in a video posted by the Defense Ministry showed a military plane pumping thousands of liters (thousands of gallons) of water out of the two giant jets as it passed through clouds of smoke close to the forest.
The move comes after a meeting of several leaders of countries in the Group of Seven (G7) nations in France where the fires were considered by them as a matter of concern. On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the G7 was approaching a deal to provide “technical and financial help” to countries affected by the Amazon fires.
According to space research agency INPE, nearly 80,000 fires have been registered all over Brazil through Aug 24, the highest since at least 2013. After receiving criticism from the pubic and world leaders for not doing much to fight the fires, Brazil’s President Bolsonaro finally announced that the military would be sent in on Friday.
Bolsonaro on his official Twitter account said that he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a telephonic conversation after which Netanyahu has offered a plane and functional support for the firefighting operations.
On Saturday, the Defense Ministry said in an announcement that 44,000 troops were available in Brail’s northern Amazon region but did not say how many would be used where and what is their role.
While being asked for additional details, the Defense Ministry told Reuters that in all seven states which have asked for help, the military is planning operations to support firefighting initiatives already undertaken.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Sunday he will be asking for a conservation pact with other Amazonian countries. After meeting with an indigenous community in the Amazonian city of Leticia in southern Colombia, Duque said, “Colombia wants to lead a pact, a conservation pact, between the countries that have Amazon territory.”
We must understand the protection of our Mother Earth and our Amazon is a duty, a moral duty.” he added.