A video posted by the Defense Ministry shows a military plane bailing water out of two giant jets as it passed through clouds of smoke close to the forest canopy.
The response comes as leaders of countries in the Group of Seven (G7) nations currently meeting in France expressed grave concerns over the fires.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said the G7 was nearing a deal to provide ‘technical and financial help’ to countries affected by the Amazon fires.
Nearly 80,000 fires have been registered across Brazil through August 24, the highest since at least 2013, according to space research agency INPE.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised £10 million to be made available immediately to help protect the Amazon rainforest habitats and called on world leaders to step up efforts to save endangered species.
Before a G7 session on the environment on Monday, Mr Johnson said: ‘In a week where we have all watched, horrified, as the Amazon rainforest burns before our eyes, we cannot escape the reality of the damage we are inflicting on the natural world.
‘The planet faces two immense threats: Climate change and biodiversity loss. These are two sides of the same coin – it is impossible to solve one challenge without fixing the other.
‘We cannot stop climate change without protecting the natural environment and we can’t restore global nature without tackling climate change.’
Bolsonaro, who has the nickname ‘Captain Chainsaw’ for his support of deforestation, had announced the military would be sent in on Friday after several days of criticism from the public and world leaders that Brazil’s government was not doing anything to fight the fires.
He also said on Twitter he had accepted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of a plane and specialized support for the firefighting operations, following a call between the two leaders.
Firefighters near Rondonia’s state capital of Porto Velho, where there were areas larger than football fields that had been charred, are working to stem active fires which are largely contained to small areas of individual trees.
The dozen or so yellow clad firefighters from environmental enforcement agency Ibama easily cleared brush from around a burning stump with a leaf blower, doused it with jets connected to water packs mounted on their backs and covered it in earth.
But outside of Rondonia, the government had yet to provide any operational details for other states. The Defense Ministry said in a briefing on Saturday that 44,000 troops were available in Brazil’s northern Amazon region but did not say how many would be used where and what they would do.
Military personnel around Porto Velho appeared to be largely coordinating firefighting efforts, according to a Reuters witness.
Asked for additional details, the Defense Ministry told Reuters in a statement that in all seven states that have asked for help, the military is planning operations to support firefighting initiatives already underway.
Justice Minister Sergio Moro had also authorized a force of military police to assist in fighting the fires, with 30 set to be sent from Brasilia to Porto Velho. The president’s office posted to Twitter a photo of police officers on a plane bound for Rondonia set to arrive at noon.
Environment Minister Ricardo Salles posted a video showing a caravan of yellow fire prevention trucks and other government vehicles, saying they were on the ground responding in Rondonia.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Sunday he would seek a conservation pact with other Amazonian countries – first in bi-lateral meetings in Peru this week and then at the United Nations General Assembly.
‘Colombia wants to lead a pact, a conservation pact, between the countries that have Amazon territory,’ Duque said after meeting with an indigenous community in the Amazonian city of Leticia in southern Colombia. ‘We must understand the protection of our Mother Earth and our Amazon is a duty, a moral duty.’
The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rain forest and is seen as vital to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide that it absorbs.
The Amazon, which provides 20 per cent of the planet’s oxygen, is home to an estimated one million indigenous people from up to 500 tribes as well some three million species of plants and animals, including jaguars, sloths, giant otters, river dolphins, howler monkeys, toucans, reptiles, frogs and insects.
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