Amazon continues to burn in 2020 despite promises to save it

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FILE – In this Sept. 3, 2019, file photo, Brazilian soldier puts out fires at the Nova Fronteira region in Novo Progresso, Brazil. In 2019, the forest around the town of Novo Progresso erupted into flames — the first major blazes in the Brazilian Amazon’s dry season and spurred global outrage against the government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the rainforest. President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to control burning in the forest in 2020, but smoke is again thick in the area. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

NOVO PROGRESSO, Brazil (AP) — A year ago this month, the forest around the town of Novo Progresso erupted into flames.

They were the first major blazes in the Brazilian Amazon’s dry season that ultimately saw more than 100,000 fires and spurred global outrage at against the government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the rainforest.

This year, President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to control the burning. He imposed a four-month ban on most fires and sent in the army.

But this week the smoke is again thick around Novo Progresso. This year’s burning season could determine whether Bolsonaro, an avid supporter of bringing more farming and ranching to the Amazon, is willing and able to halt the fires. 

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