By now, word of the fires that have been ravaging the Amazon rainforest for weeks has spread like, well, wildfire. Though the news was slow to break, much of the ensuing public outcry has targeted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his dismal environmental policies and hesitation in taking action.
Following pleas from local governments and condemnation by world leaders during a G7 summit held this past weekend, Brazil’s far-right president has now authorized military operations to combat the blazes in seven different Amazonian states. Warplanes are currently dumping water on the state of Rondonia in an attempt to quell the fires, and according to a briefing by the defense ministry on Saturday, the nation has readied 44,000 troops in the northern Amazon, though the details of what they plan to do, and when, remain unclear.
A record-breaking 80,000 or so fires have broken out in Brazil this year, more than half of which are said to be have been in the Amazon, according to the National Institute for Space Research. Though Bolsonaro has approved military intervention for those currently raging, the G7 leaders have also pledged roughly $20 million toward fighting the fires as they devastate the largest rainforest on Earth and what some say is its greatest hope for combating climate change.