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A burned tract of Amazon jungle is pictured as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near Porto Velho, Brazil August 28, 20...

Brazil puts temporary ban on most burning to curb Amazon fires

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Brazilian government has banned most legal fires for land-clearing for 60 days in an attempt to stop the burning that has devastated parts of the Amazon region.

The official decree prohibiting the fires was published Thursday following international criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the environmental crisis.

The period of the new ban coincides with the dry season, when most fires are usually set.

Brazil’s forest code allows farmers and others to set some fires as long as they have licenses from environmental authorities.

This year, there was a sharp increase in nationwide fires, raising concerns that people were emboldened to burn more after Bolsonaro said rainforest protections were blocking economic development.

Bolsonaro suggested environmental groups were setting illegal fires to try to destabilize his government.