Troops deployed to fight over 1,000 new fires identified in Amazon this week

Around 1,200 new fires have been identified burning in the Amazon Rainforest region this week, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported Sunday.

Six of the country’s nine states requested military assistance to combat the blazes, just one day after Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro authorized the armed forces to step in, deploying 44,000 troops in the process.

Some parts of the rainforest are burning at their highest rates since records began in 2003, a rise of 84 percent compared to the same time last year.

Environmentalists have blamed farmers clearing the land for pasture are responsible for the fires. Environmentalists believe farmers have been emboldened by Bolsonaro’s looser environmental policies.

Bolsonaro initially dismissed concerns about the fires, but reversed course this week, perhaps in response to international outrage and sanction threats.

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