NOVO PROGRESSO, Brazil (AP) — A year ago this month, the forest around the town of Novo Progresso erupted into flames.
They were the first major blazes in the Brazilian Amazon’s dry season that ultimately saw more than 100,000 fires and spurred global outrage at against the government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the rainforest. This year, President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to control the burning. He imposed a four-month ban on most fires and sent in the army. But this week the smoke is again thick around Novo Progresso. This year’s burning season could determine whether Bolsonaro, an avid supporter of bringing more farming and ranching to the Amazon, is willing and able to halt the fires.