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Satellite images show expanding fire at South American tri-border area

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Satellite images show expanding fire at South American tri-border area
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European Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with EO Browser
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The wildfires in the Amazon forest have been ravaging the tri-border area between Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay for about a week now. As the satellite images show, the fire continues to consume a wide area visible from space.

"The fire front now is not so long but it is moving towards the south-west, entering the territory of Paraguay," said researcher Iban Ameztoy in a tweet accompanied with images taken by Copernicus' Sentinel satellite.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano tweeted pictures of the smoke from the Amazon fires, saying they were visible "for thousands of kilometres".

The change in wind direction caused the flames coming from Bolivia to enter the natural reserve of the Three Giants in Paraguay, said local media. This zone is part of the Paraguayan Pantanal — a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area located between Brazil and Bolivia.

"The Pantanal is a complex, fragile, and high-risk ecosystem because it's being transformed from a wetland to a productive system," Larissa Rejalaga, one of the engineers in charge of monitoring the evolution of the fires by satellite, told EFE.

European Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with EO Browser
Satellite image of the fire at the Bolivian, Brazilian, and Paraguayan borderEuropean Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with EO Browser

In Brazil, the fires have already affected seven states that will get reinforcements to combat the blaze. After the Ministry of Defence gave a detailed plan of how 44,000 military personnel will be deployed in the vast Amazon territory, the Brazilian government released 38.5 million reais to carry out the operation.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been highly criticised by the international community for the management of the fires. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to block a trade agreement with Mercosur.

Between January and the first three weeks of August, Brazil recorded 71,497 outbreaks of fire, the highest number for the period in seven years, and just over half of those reported in Amazonas, according to official data released last week.

European Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with EO Browser
Smoke from the fires at the tri-borderEuropean Union, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed with EO Browser

Meanwhile, in Bolivia, President Evo Morales said he welcomed any international help to fight the fires in the Chiquitania area which borders with Brazil and Paraguay.

"I welcome the cooperation from international organisations or authorities, governments, as expressed in the corresponding cooperation," said Morales at a press conference in the region of Cochabamba. The Bolivian president had previously refused any international help.

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