A vast floodplain

The Pantanal is on fire:

The Pantanal, a vast floodplain in South America, is among the largest wetlands in the world. The mosaic of grasslands, shrublands, forests, marshes, and lakes covers an area as large as West Virginia. It is home to thousands of species, including many that are rare and endangered, such as jaguars, giant river otters, hyacinth macaws, and giant armadillos.

Though the number of ranches and cattle pastures have increased on the plateaus that surround the Pantanal in Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, the floodplain itself has remained mostly free of development in recent decades. But in the past few years, the Pantanal has faced a new challenge: uncontrollable fire.

The 2019 fire season (July through October) was unusually active, and a shortage of rainfall during the 2020 wet season (December through April) meant Pantanal wetlands never had a chance to recharge. That made it easier for fires to continue burning throughout the first half of the calendar year, when fire activity is typically minimal in this region. The unusually dry conditions have meant that many fires that were lit intentionally—often to maintain pastures—have been escaping and burning uncontrolled through Pantanal ecosystems.

And once such fires have started to spread rapidly and widely, they can outpace the available infrastructure for firefighters to contain or stop them.

Via Arnaud Desbiez on Facebook:

The biggest problem of Pantanal burns is the direct impact with the loss of fauna that has an ecological importance in the ecosystem.

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That’s a hotel logo but it’s a powerful photo anyway.

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