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However, 2019 is not the worst year in recent history. Brazil experienced much more fire activity in the 2000s – with 2005 seeing more than 133,000 fires in the first eight months of the year.
“The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”
It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data.
“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” Inpe researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters.
Over the past decade, previous governments had managed to reduce deforestation with action by federal agencies and a system of fines. But Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers have criticised the penalties and overseen a fall in confiscations of timber and convictions for environmental crimes.
Inpe said it had detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since 2010. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.
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Fires in the Amazon have risen 84% amid growing deforestation, Brazil’s space research agency says.