Brazil bans most burning for 60 days to curb Amazon fires

Brazil bans most burning for 60 days to curb Amazon fires
In this image released Thursday Aug. 29, 2019, by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, showing part of a time-lapse series, that they identify as carbon monoxide associated with fires from the Amazon region in Brazil from Aug. 8-22, 2019. The image was made with data collected from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory via AP)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Brazilian government has banned most legal fires for land-clearing for 60 days in an attempt to stop the burning that has devastated parts of the Amazon region.

The official decree prohibiting the fires was published Thursday following international criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the environmental crisis.

The period of the new ban coincides with the dry season, when most fires are usually set.

Brazil’s forest code allows farmers and others to set some fires as long as they have licenses from environmental authorities.

This year, there was a sharp increase in nationwide fires, raising concerns that people were emboldened to burn more after Bolsonaro said rainforest protections were blocking economic development.

Bolsonaro suggested environmental groups were setting illegal fires to try to destabilize his government.