Shamans' Rain (?)
Puts Out 95% Of
Burning Amazon

By William Schomberg
From Ken Welch
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Heavy rain has extinguished more than 95 percent of the fires which have devastated vast areas of savannah and jungle in Brazil's northern Amazon, a government agency said Wednesday.
``We are out of the crisis phase,'' said Evaristo Eduardo de Miranda, an environmental researcher with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa).
``It's a divine coincidence. Most of the rain fell on the areas with most fires,'' de Miranda said after studying the latest satellite images of the remote Roraima state.
He said more rain was forecast for the next three days.
Fires set by subsistence farmers have raged for more than two months in Roraima, ravaging an area the size of Lebanon. But a downpour Tuesday, followed by more rain Wednesday, quickly put out most of the flames, de Miranda said.
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Television newscasts showed firemen dancing in puddles while two Indian shamans, who Monday night performed a traditional rain-conjuring ritual, smiled for the cameras in the downpour.
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An estimated 56,000 settlers were believed to have lost their crops and most of Roraima's 32,000 indigenous people were without adequate food and water, fire brigade captain Kleber Gomes Cerquinho said.

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