Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows - GulfToday

Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows

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A tract of the Amazon jungle burns as it is cleared by loggers and farmers in Porto Velho, Brazil.

Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, official data showed Saturday, as thousands of troops were made available to help fight the worst blazes in years following a global outcry.

Multiple fires billowing huge plumes of smoke into the air were seen across a vast area of the northwestern state of Rondonia on Friday when AFP journalists flew over the area.

Several residents in the capital, Porto Velho, told AFP on Saturday that what appeared to be light clouds hanging over the city of half a million people, was actually smoke from the blazes that had scorched swaths of land and left tree trunks smoldering on the ground.

"I'm very worried because of the environment and health," Delmara Conceicao Silva told AFP.

"I have a daughter with respiratory problems and she suffers more because of the fires."

'Help is welcome'

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, both attending the G7 summit, have offered their countries' assistance in fighting the fires.

"Any help is welcome in respect to the fires," Brazil's Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva told reporters on Saturday.

The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands of people protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday. More demonstrations are planned in Brazil on Sunday.

Earlier this week, Bolsonaro, whose anti-environment rhetoric since coming to power in January has been blamed for harming the Amazon and indigenous tribes, accused non-governmental organizations of deliberately starting the fires after their funding was cut.

The growing crisis threatens to torpedo a blockbuster trade deal between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate.

Agence France-Presse