Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has deployed armed troops to the Amazon Rainforest to tackle the forest fires, amid international outrage over rising deforestation.

The move is an apparent reversal from Mr Bolsonaro, who has been accused of encouraging miners and loggers.

Other countries had threatened to target Brazil’s economy if it did not act to stop the fires.

France and Ireland had said they would not ratify a large trade deal with South American nations, and Finland’s finance minister had called on the EU to consider banning Brazilian beef imports.

In a televised address to the nation on Friday, Mr Bolsonaro said forest fires “exist in the whole world” and “cannot serve as a pretext for possible international sanctions”.

Mr Bolsonaro confirmed in his address that he had authorised the armed forces to help fight the fires. “I’ve learned as a military man to love the Amazon forest and I want to help protect it,” he said.

The decree itself was fairly vague in its wording, but specified that the military would be deployed to nature reserves, indigenous lands and border areas in the region.

The deployment of soldiers would be left down to regional governors who can request “preventive action … against environmental crimes” and ask the army to “survey and combat fire outbreaks”, it said.

Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva will oversee the order and be responsible for allocating resources, it stated. The order initially authorises action for a month, from 24 August to 24 September.

Mr Bolsonaro has come under criticism for his handling of the fires.

International leaders such as French President Emmanuel, Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have called the fires an international crisis.

Mr Bolsonaro in response hit back at the leaders accusing Mr Macron of meddling for “political gains”.


Many of the fires are thought to have been started deliberately, with suspicion falling on farmers who may benefit by having more available land.

Mr Bolsonaro has also blamed environmental activists and declared staunch support for the clearing of areas of the Amazon for agriculture and mining.

Experts and campaigners say his administration has given a green light to rainforest destruction.

On Friday, environmental groups held protests in cities across Brazil demanding action to combat the fires, and protesters gathered outside the Brazilian embassies around the world.

The Amazon Rainforest, is the largest rainforest in the world. It is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

Commonly referred to as the “lungs of the world”, the rainforest is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.