- A quarter of the northern state of Roraima
has been reduced to ashes by farming trying to clear land to plant crops
and graze cattle.
- The federal government in Brazil says
it is not yet willing to pay for helicopters to try to put out the forest
fires which are raging in the northern state of Roraima.
- A federal official who is visiting the
state, Marco Franca, said he needed to hear more expert opinion about whether
the plan, put forward by the state governor, Neudo Campos, was workable.
- Local officials want the central government
to release the $2.4m already approved to rent 22 Russian and U.S. firefighting
helicopters from a company in the nearby Venezuelan city of Maturin.
- But Mr Franca, after flying over one
of the worst affected areas, said the fires were so bad that without rain
there was simply no way of bringing them completely under control.
- Instead the government in Brasilia is
to send a team of 50 specialists in jungle firefighting to Roraima in the
next few days, who will attempt to put out the flames from ground level.
- A quarter of the thickly forested state
of Roraima is already either on fire or in ashes - an area the size of
- The fires have destroyed 12,000 cattle
and 30% of the region's crops, and are now threatening some of the indigenous
- Roraima, which has experienced its worst
drought conditions in 30 years, is one of Brazil's most remote states.
It is also home to about 3,000 Yanomami, considered the world's largest
surviving Stone Age tribe.
- About 15 Yanomami villages are threatened
by the fires, many of which have been started by farmers clearing land
to plant their crops.