Brazil's Bolsonaro Modifies Outdoor Fires Ban


Photo taken on Aug. 26, 2019 shows a fire consuming trees in Manicore, the state of Amazonas, Brazil. (Gabriela Biro/Agencia Estado/Handout via Xinhua)

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, fires in the Amazon region increased 72 percent compared with the same period of last year.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has modified a decree that banned outdoor fires across the country for 60 days.

The original decree was issued on Thursday, and the modified version was published on an extra edition of the Government Gazette Friday night.

According to the new version of the decree, outdoor fires will only be banned in the Legal Amazon region, which comprises the states of Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins, as well as part of Maranhao.

The ban does not apply to "agricultural practices outside the Legal Amazon that are essential for harvesting," and the controlled burning will be subject to the approval of regional environmental body.

The regional environmental body would deny its authorization if the controlled burning causes risks to life, environmental damage or unfavourable weather conditions are demonstrated.

The fires devastating parts of the Amazon rainforest have led to global scrutiny of Brazil's commitment to environmental conservation.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, fires in the Amazon region increased 72 percent compared with the same period of last year, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research.

On Aug. 23, Bolsonaro authorized the use of the armed forces to battle the blazes, and a reduced number of fires were announced by the government on Friday.