Environmentalists say fires in Brazil’s Amazon were started by humans

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Environmental groups and researchers say the dozens of fires destroying large sections of the Amazon were almost all set by humans, as cattle ranchers and loggers try to take over the land.

The Amazon is a humid rainforest, and it is difficult, even during dry spells, for it to catch on fire, Christian Poirier of the nonprofit group Amazon Watch told CNN.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promised during his campaign that he would open the Amazon up to business, and he has since slashed the environmental enforcement agency’s budget, which environmentalists said had encouraged ranchers and loggers to burn down land.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for focusing on the fires at this weekend’s G-7 summit, calling the record rate of Amazon fires a global crisis.

The Amazon forest produces 20 percent of Earth’s oxygen.

Bolsonaro warned other nations to stop “interfering with our sovereignty.”

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