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The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is burning. Who started the fires? | The Fact Checker

As the Amazon rainforest in Brazil burns, it seems like everyone is in search of someone to blame. There have been nearly 100,000 fires detected this year so far but who or what is responsible?

Fires in the rainforest don’t start themselves, but that doesn’t mean they are unusual. Every year in the dry season, between August and October, deforestation fires are set by people who are clearing land for a wide variety of reasons — farming, ranching, mining, illicit activities, infrastructure.

Like many natural resources, the Amazon is caught in a tug of war between economic growth and environmental protections — and in that war politics almost always come into play. Some in the international community were quick to blame Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for the flames. But he said non-governmental organizations were behind the fires and his environmental minister, Ricardo Salles, claimed the weather was an intensifier. Environmental activists pointed to large agribusinesses. And 2020 Democratic presidential candidate former congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) said it was Trump’s trade war with China that started it all.

All of those explanations can’t be accurate simultaneously, since they contradict each other. The Fact Checker digs into what exactly has been going on in the fight over Brazil’s natural resources. Read more: Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

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