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Military Aircraft, 40,000 Troops Pressed into Action to Fight Massive Amazon Forest Fires

The defence and environment ministers on Saturday described plans to battle the blazes that have prompted an international outcry as well as demonstrations in Brazil against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the environmental crisis.

Agencies

Updated:August 24, 2019, 11:05 PM IST
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Military Aircraft, 40,000 Troops Pressed into Action to Fight Massive Amazon Forest Fires
Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, Brazil August 21, 2019. (Image : Reuters)
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Rio de Janeiro: Brazil says military aircraft and 44,000 troops will be available to fight fires sweeping through parts of the Amazon region.

The defence and environment ministers on Saturday described plans to battle the blazes that have prompted an international outcry as well as demonstrations in Brazil against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the environmental crisis.

Bolsonaro on Friday authorised the military to get involved in putting out the fires, saying he is committed to protecting the Amazon region.

Bolsonaro has previously described rainforest protection as an obstacle to Brazil's economic development, sparring with critics who say the Amazon absorbs vast amounts of greenhouse gasses and is crucial for efforts to contain climate change.

Many of the fires were set in already deforested areas by people clearing farmland.

After international pressure to contain fires, Bolsonaro authorised use of the military to battle the huge blazes while thousands took to the streets to protest his environmental policies.

The military will "act strongly" to control the wildfires, Bolsonaro promised as he signed the decree.

The armed forces will collaborate with public security and environmental protection agencies, the decree said.

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