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Brazilian President May Send Army to Contain Amazon Fires

Created: August 23, 2019 07:37 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he's leaning toward sending the army to help fight Amazon fires that have alarmed people across the globe.

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In brief remarks to reporters Friday, Bolsonaro said he'd act on that plan within hours.

Bolsonaro has come under increasing international pressure to contain the fires in the Amazon, a region that produces vast amounts of oxygen and is considered crucial in efforts to contain global warming.

France's government on Friday accused Bolsonaro of lying about his environmental commitments and said it would oppose a major European trade deal that would benefit Brazil.

Brazilian experts have reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84 percent over the same period in 2018.

Earlier in the week, Bolsonaro suggested that non-governmental organizations could be to blame for the fires.

Bolsonaro said Wednesday that nonprofits whose budgets have been cut may be setting fires "to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil." He didn't cite any evidence.

The government monitoring agency says Brazil has seen a record number of wildfires this year, counting 74,155 as of Tuesday. That's up 84 percent over the same period last year.

Some NGOs blame Bolsonaro's pro-development policies for a reportedly sharp increase in Amazon deforestation and the government has faced international pressure to protect the vast rainforest from illegal logging or mining activities.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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