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Bolsonaro considers sending troops to fight Amazon rainforest fires


Bolsonaro considers sending troops to fight Amazon rainforest fires

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is considering sending the army to tackle the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader told reporters on Friday he was inclined to deploy the troops using a presidential decree. Brazil’s environmental agency, IBAMA, is also hiring hundreds of temporary firefighters to help fight the fires, the agency announced on Friday.

The announcement came as political, civil society leaders and celebrities around the world stepped up their pressure on the Brazilian government over the blazing rainforest.

France and Ireland said they would block a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur, the economic and political bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, unless Brazil takes action on the Amazon forest.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday angered Bolsonaro by calling the wildfires blazing in the Amazon rainforest an “international crisis” that should be on the agenda at the G7 summit in Biarritz.

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest — the lungs of our planet which produces 20% of our oxygen — is on fire. It is an international crisis,” Macron tweeted.

At the same time, Macron accused the Brazilian president of “lying” to him on his climate commitments, the Elysée Palace confirmed to CNN.

Bolsonaro blasted Macron’s offer as “sensationalist” and accused him of using the fires for “political gain.”

“I regret that President Macron is seeking to instrumentalize an internal issue in Brazil and in other Amazonian countries for personal political gains,” Bolsonaro tweeted.

“The suggestion of the French president that Amazonian issues be discussed in the G7 without countries in the region participating is reminiscent of a colonial mindset inappropriate in the 21st century,” he said in a second tweet.

The G7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated Macron’s stance and said international cooperation is needed to protect rainforests.