Reuter's Report: World's largest wetland on fire: Brazil's Pantanal
Reuter's Report: World's largest wetland on fire: Brazil's Pantanal
2 min • Nature & Environment • 2020

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A fire has been burning since mid-July in the remote wetlands of west-central Brazil, leaving in its wake a vast charred desolation bigger than New York City. Libby Hogan reports. Fires continue to rage through the wilderness of the Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, as images emerged Wednesday (16 September).Firefighters have their work cut out for them, as the fires blaze through dry underbrush and riverbanks. Lesser known than its cousin, the Amazon jungle, the 150,000-square kilometre Pantanal is sandwiched between the rainforest and Paraguay's dry forests. Since mid-July a fire has been burning, leaving in its wake a region of destruction, bigger than New York City. The Pantanal is home to roughly 1,200 vertebrate species, including 36 that are threatened with extinction. Rare birds and jaguars are also known to roam. Local animal rescue team member Eduarda Fernandes said animals are now in grave danger.Fires in the region are nothing new, as ranchers used them to return nutrients to the soil at a low cost. The world's largest flood plain usually fills with water during the rainy season from November to April. But this year's fires are burning with historic force, and scientists blame the drought on warming in the Atlantic Ocean. A farm worker, Dorvalino Conceicao Camargo, told Reuters he had never seen a fire as big as this. The largest fires in Pantanal this year are four times the size of that in the Amazon rainforest. Climate scientists warn these climate-driven fires from California to Australia could become a new normal. (c) 2020 Thomson Reuters, unless otherwise identified. PHOTO: Mato Grosso, Brazil.- Firefighters try to put out the flames of the forest fires that affect the Pantanal region in Mato Grosso, Brazil on September 20, 2020. The Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world and that Brazil shares with Bolivia and Paraguay, will end September with a record number of fires, which have already destroyed 22% of its area, a tragedy that increases international pressure on the environmental policy of President Jair Bolsonaro