Bolsonaro bans land-clearing fires for 60 days

Bolsonaro bans land-clearing fires for 60 days”

Brazil's government is banning most legal fires, used for land-clearing, for at least 60 days in the wake of the massive blazes that ravaged the Amazon rainforest, according to a new report.

The move was one of the first signs of a concrete economic impact from the controversy over the fires, which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted are under control.

Thousands of troops and firefighters have been deployed since the weekend to combat the fires, along with two C-130 Hercules and other aircraft that are dumping water over affected areas in the country's north.

Many environmentalists say there won't be anyone to enforce the 60 day ban and lots of the fires that have been set have been started illegally.

Elsewhere, Norway has urged several of its companies to ensure they do not contribute to Amazon deforestation, including oil firm Equinor ASA EQNR.OL , fertilizer-maker Yara International ASA YAR.OL and aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA NHY.OL .

Bolsonaro however claimed in a live broadcast on Facebook that "this year's fires are below the average of recent years".

According to the Center for the Brazilian Tanning Industry, the main leather trade group in Brazil, the country exported $1.44 billion of bovine leather in 2018.

Brazil's foreign ministry said it was not aware of the proposal.

A fire burns a tract of Amazon jungle as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near Altamira, Brazil, August 27, 2019.

The Brazilian leaders say it has enlisted the help of 44,000 soldiers to try and put the fires out.

The back-and-forth has sidelined a pledge of $20 million from the G-7 nations to help protect rainforests in the Amazon, though Bolsonaro said he would accept "bilateral" aid and that Chile was sending four firefighting planes.

The governors of several states in the Amazon told Bolsonaro in a meeting on Tuesday that global help was needed.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that Bolsonaro had ordered a military operation to help fight the fires.

Trump's complimentary remarks about Bolsonaro and his handling of the Amazon fires contrast with criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron and some other European leaders.

"I think Bolsonaro is causing enormous harm to the Brazilian people, a little out of evil and a little out of ignorance", former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the BBC from jail where he is serving nearly nine years for corruption.

In the hard-hit northwestern state of Rondonia, thick smoke has choked the capital Porto Velho as fires blacken swaths of the rainforest. Many of those were set in already deforested areas by people clearing land for cultivation or pasture.

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