The smoke from the fire that is devastating the Pantanal, in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, is advancing in Brazil and has already reached Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, and is expected to reach São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the coming years. days.
In Curitiba, residents reported feeling smoke in the early hours of Tuesday morning (15). In Santa Catarina, smoke could be seen in some points west of the state, changing the color of the sky. In Rio Grande do Sul, reports from residents last Sunday cited a “gray rain” – which, according to experts, may be a result of the precipitation of the residues from the rain-washed fires.
In the southeastern region, the smoke should arrive in the next few days, making the sky reddish, when the sun appears and sets, and milky throughout the day, worsening the air quality. The problem must be aggravated by the fires, considered the biggest in 20 years, which have been devastating the surroundings of the city of São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo, since last Wednesday.
Race against time
The ash cloud that is traveling through the country is the result of fires in the Amazon and Bolivia, but mainly in the Pantanal biome. According to the Integrated Multi-Agency Center for Operational Coordination (Ciman-MT), fires have a criminal origin.
Without rain forecast, there is no prospect that the fire will cool down. According to the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), 12% of the Pantanal (2.2 million hectares of the biome) have already been consumed by fire.
Even with the increase in fires since January, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (Ibama) decreased its operations in the region in 2020: fines for deforestation and illegal fires fell 22% this year, compared to 2019.