Fires in the Pantanal: Encontro das Águas State Park, the main refuge for jaguars, is the most affected area

Posted in: 11/12/2023

Fires in the Pantanal have intensified in recent months and the main impacted territory is the Encontro das Águas State Park , located between the municipalities of Poconé and Barão de Melgaço. The reserve, which has 108 thousand hectares , has already had around 36 thousand of them affected by fire .

The fires are a concern above all because the park is considered the region with the highest concentration of jaguars not only in the Pantanal, but in the world. The region is also home to more than 5 thousand species of fauna and flora .

According to data released by the Environmental Satellite Applications Laboratory (Lasa), at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the fire in the region, which started at the beginning of October (1st), had already been controlled and considered extinguished at the time. end of the month (the 31st), as a result of the rain and the work of agents from the State Civil Defense and the Mato Grosso Fire Department.

However, the fire reached the location again on November 7th . High temperatures and strong gusts of wind would have been the cause of the reignition , according to the statement by Lieutenant Colonel Marco Aires , commander of the Environmental Emergency Battalion (BEA). Authorities warned that there is no forecast of new rain for the region, only intense heat .

Fires in the Pantanal hit Encontro das Águas State Park Photo-Mayke-Toscano_Secom-MT
Fires in the Pantanal affect Encontro das Águas State Park. Photo: Mayke Toscano/Secom MT

Lasa data also indicates that this is already the second worst year of fires in the territory since 2013. And experts believe that there is a high chance that the accumulated result for 2023 will surpass that of 2013 , considering that we are still in the month of October.

In 2020, during the worst drought in the last 50 years , which resulted in a historic increase of 220% in fire outbreaks in the Pantanal , the Encontro das Águas State Park had more than 85% of the area affected by fire. At the time, Synergia Socioambiental started the Synergia In Defense of the Pantanal campaign , with the aim of raising resources to financially support the work of NGOs that were already working to conserve the biome even before the environmental tragedy of that year.

Aracuã Monitoring System and Panel: monitoring the situation in real time helps prevent fires in the Pantanal

Officially launched at the end of October, as one of the fire prevention strategies in the Pantanal, the Aracuã Monitoring System has helped to avoid fire outbreaks in the region, even with the adverse conditions that have worsened the fires.

Result of the development of a personalized methodology for monitoring hot spots and analyzing territorial data in the Pantanal biome, combined with real-time alerts for the Pantanal Brigades (BPAN), the system has facilitated active prevention in the region, avoiding a further tragedy bigger.

Fires in the Pantanal hit Encontro das Águas State Park Photo-Site-O-Documento
The brigades’ efforts are concentrated in the Encontro das Águas State Park region. Photo: O Documento website

One of the stages of the Aracuã Monitoring System , the Aracuã Panel – developed by Synergia – enables the monitoring of varied data , including data on the history of recorded heat sources , vegetation quality , terrain characteristics , existing infrastructure and preventive actions adopted, and can play a fundamental role in the region, helping to predict the coming months and design fire prevention and combat strategies .

For the launch of the System, Synergia developed a specific panel , covering the area of ​​the Encontro das Águas State Park , which was being affected by the first fires, in October.

Aracuã Panel: monitoring hot spots in the Pantanal
Aracuã Panel: territory of the Encontro das Águas State Park. Click on the image to enlarge.

Marcos Vinicius Quizados de Lima, Geoprocessing specialist at Synergia, highlights the facilitated interpretation of data, made possible by the panel, as an essential support for understanding the complexity of fires in the Pantanal : “By using historical information and data analysis in almost In reality, these dashboards not only provide clarity for experts, but can help the general public identify crucial patterns in fighting and preventing wildfires. This improved understanding can be a key piece in effectively protecting the Pantanal and help drive awareness,” he points out.

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