A large-scale fire burned areas of Pantanal in the state of Mato Grosso this weekend. Nearly one thousand hectares of native vegetation and pasture lands burned in the span of only two days.
This active fire started Saturday and is still not under control after two days of firefighting actions. According to the Environmental Emergencies Battalion, this is the largest occurrence recorded this season.
“In Pantanal biome we have vast areas of grassland and some islands of forest. Added to the wind, this configuration of the landscape contributes a lot to orient the fire and even spread it faster and get out of control”, says the Science director at IPAM, Ane Alencar.
Researchers from IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) and Woodwell Climate Research Center, from the United States, are taking part in a field expedition to improve the use of data in combating fires. The trip coincides with the release of the new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today, which shows worrying data on climate extremes for South America.
In Brazil, temperature may rise between 4ºC and 5ºC in the coming decades. “A warmer, drier environment makes everything more flammable. Today, any spark can become a fire. In the future, the situation will only get worse,” says Alencar.
The expedition began on Friday (6) and aims to create solutions for more efficient control of fires and burning, which worsen during the dry season. It is a partnership between IPAM, Woodwell Climate and the Environmental Emergencies Battalion of the Military Fire Department of Mato Grosso and goes through three biomes: Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazônia. A travel diary is shared on IPAM’s Instagram.
“To deal with fire there has to be strategy and intelligence. It is often necessary to wait until late afternoon, when the temperature and wind drop and the relative air humidity increases, to have a more effective fight”, explains the project coordinator and Woodwell Climate researcher Manoela Machado.