Why is the Amazon Still Burning Despite the Fire Ban?

We recently saw our news feeds littered with posts from celebrities and influencers raging about the fact that the Amazon rainforest had been on fire for weeks, yet no one was talking about it. Why were the media so quiet on the subject? Well, every year the Amazon is subjected to a number of controlled fires and so news outlets likely thought it was the norm.

However, this time, it was significantly different and international leaders from across the globe have been working together to try and stop the fires. The Brazilian government did put a ban on lighting fires in the huge rainforest on August 28th, yet there are still thousands of fires raging away.

Many commented on the fact that this the fire ban that president Jair Bolsonaro called was simply ineffective, and just an attempt to make it look like he was actually addressing the issue when he wasn’t. “The fire ban is currently for 60 days” said Beatriz Oliviera, a spokesperson at REVIEWBOX. “Once the ban is lifted, Brazil will be heading into the summer and, with that, will experience the driest part of the year” she continues. “It’s not surprising that the public has remained skeptical on the ban because once we hit summer, enterprises will get the go-ahead to burn the forest again – in summer, this is going to be a very dangerous game”.

According to a recent post published by Science Alert, we have not yet seen the worst of the fires either. The reason for this is the agricultural and economic gain. When businesses purchase areas in the Amazon for use within the agriculture industry, the land they take over is usually set alight so that it can be adequately fertilized for pastures. In the past, the natural moist air of the Amazon stopped the fires from spreading too far. However, with more and more fires been started every year, the whole ecosystem is becoming drier, and, as such, the fires quickly get out of control as they have so far this year.

Despite legislation in place designed to protect multiple parts of the Amazon, laws are frequently revised to favor farmers and huge enterprises wanting to purchase the land. It’s a bit of a catch 22 when officials are torn between helping the economy grow and protecting natural areas.

It’s been reported that when new protected areas are commissioned, only a fraction of the area that once was considered protected, is “officially” protected and then, nearby land is sold to the agriculture industry to create jobs and boost the economy further.

Reports now state that deforestation occurred so far this year could take hundreds of years to fully fix. The thing is, Brazil has significantly reduced the amount of deforestation in the Amazon in the past, and therefore, could quite easily do it again. The question is, do they actually want to?