Susanna Hecht in Daily Bruin: Amazon fires product of environmental policy abuses, UCLA experts explain
Fires have been burning in the Amazon Basin since August, eliciting international attention. The spotlight has been focused particularly on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his potential role in encouraging forest burning in the basin. Forest burning is a long-standing method used originally by indigenous communities to clear land, but the increase in these intentional fires and the dismantling of regulatory mechanisms since Bolsonaro’s election has allowed the Amazon rainforest to descend into the precarious state it is in.
The recent Amazon fires have burned over 12 million acres, said Susanna Hecht, a UCLA urban planning professor who is an expert in Latin American tropics, specifically the Amazon Basin. Hecht said the burning area is the size of New Jersey or Belgium.