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Emergency policies are not enough to resolve Amazonia’s fire crises

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  • Manoela S. Machado
  • Erika Berenguer
  • Paulo M. Brando
  • Ane Alencar
  • Imma Oliveras Menor
  • Jos Barlow
  • Yadvinder Malhi
Article number204
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/04/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Communications Earth & Environment
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The fire crises in the Amazon continues to increase the risk of large-scale forest dieback, threatening regional biodiversity and global climate. This issue gained international attention in 2019 when fires in the Brazilian Amazon led to a fire ban imposition. Despite the uncertainty of its impact, the fire ban was reenacted in subsequent years. Here we assess the effectiveness of each fire ban by comparing observed fire counts with climate-driven predictions of fire for 2019–2021. While the 2019 ban likely reduced the number of fires to expected levels, it was largely ineffective in the years that followed. Four years later in 2023 under a different political dynamic, the Brazilian Amazon faced another fire crisis. Resolving this recurrent issue requires interventions that target the underlying causes of fire and extend beyond emergency measures, including long-term strategies focused on landscape management, public awareness and education, and engagement with local communities and stakeholders.