Brazil state declares environmental emergency after wildfires

Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Image taken on Aug. 17, 2019 shows a raging fire in the Amazon rainforest in the state of Tocantins, Brazil. (Dida Sampaio/AGENCIA ESTADO/Handout via Xinhua/IANS)
Image taken in August, 2019, shows a raging fire in the Amazon rainforest in the state of Tocantins, Brazil. Image Courtesy: IANS

Brasilia: Brazil's southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul has declared a state of environmental emergency after raging wildfires destroyed 1.4 million hectares of vegetation since the beginning of the year.

On Monday, state Governor Reinaldo Azambuja signed the decree during a meeting with the National Secretary for Civil Protection and Defense, Alexandre Lucas Alves, who travelled to Campo Grande, the state capital, a day earlier, reports Xinhhua news agency.

The 79 municipalities of the state are suffering from a severe drought affecting the central region of the country, and fires have also spread through the states of Mato Grosso and Tocantins.

The drought has been described as the worst in 47 years in the country.

However, the Mato Grosso do Sul state government also blamed man-made blazes for having "caused forest and urban fires in much of the state".

The fires have also surrounded the Encontro das Aguas park in the Pantanal, located at the Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states' border, threatening both flora and fauna in the region.

Personnel from the Brazilian environment institutes and army troops have been fighting the fires in the region for months.

Forecasts indicate this week will again see no rains, with high temperatures hitting some places in the region, increasing the risk of wildfires.

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