Burned area in Brazil up 248% from Jan. 2023

Roraima, Amazonas, and Pará are the most affected states

Published on 27/02/2024 - 12:13 By Agência Brasil - São Paulo

Over one million hectares were consumed by fire in Brazil in January, as per data released Tuesday (Feb. 27) by MapBiomas.

While January 2023 saw a decrease in fires compared to 2022, the first month of 2024 showed a surge of 248 percent from January 2023. In January 2023, 287 thousand hectares were burned, against 1.03 million hectares in January 2024.

Of this total, 941 hectares (91%) are in the Amazon, the biome most affected by fire in the period, mainly as a result of the fires affecting the far north of the region. This represents a 266% rise over the previous month. The second most affected biome was the pantanal, with 40,626 hectares.

The three states with the largest areas burned in January were in the Amazon: Roraima, with 413,170 hectares affected by fire, up 250 percent on January 2023; Pará, with 314,601; and Amazonas, with 95,356. Roraima accounted for 40 percent of the total burned in the country in January, and Pará made up 30 percent.

Vegetation

Grasslands, pastures, and forests were the types of vegetation most consumed by fire throughout the country. While in Roraima 95 percent of the burned area is located in grassland, in Pará 41 percent can be found in forest and 49 percent in pasture.

Due to its proximity to the Equator, Roraima has unique climatic and geographical characteristics that make the burning season occur at the beginning of the year rather than in the middle to end of the year, as in other regions of the Amazon. The dry season usually lasts from December to April, while the rainy season goes from May to November.

“It’s normal for the Amazon to top the list of burnt areas early in the year, because this is when Roraima’s dry season takes place. However, this year the drought proved to be an aggravating factor, delaying and reducing the amount of rainfall, making the region even more flammable,” said Ane Alencar, coordinator of MapBiomas Fogo and director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, Ipam.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Kleber Sampaio

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