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Foreign pilots and planes will be able to fight fires in Brazil

The federal government published this Wednesday (10) a provisional measure that allows, in cases of public calamity or environmental emergencies, firefighting services to be carried out by aircraft and crew of other nationalities.

“With this change, we can now also, if necessary, hire aircraft from other countries or receive help from other countries with pilots who are not necessarily Brazilian pilots,” said the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, this Wednesday after a meeting of the Federal Government’s situation room on the Pantanal.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, firefighting efforts have managed to extinguish 30 of the 54 fires registered up to July 7, corresponding to 55% of the total. Of the 24 still active, 13 are under control.

Throughout the Pantanal, there are 830 professionals involved in the fire-fighting operation, with 15 vessels and 15 aircraft in three operating bases, in Corumbá, Poconé and Porto Conceição.

Italo Ricardo is a pilot who has been working for the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) for two years, helping to combat forest fires. He has worked in Rondônia and has now spent 15 days in the Pantanal, where he is working to transport firefighters.

“Our main activity was to transport firefighters to the focus of the fires, get closer to places that are more difficult to reach by vehicle, boat or aircraft, and have access to fight the fires more efficiently.”

The Pantanal is facing its most severe drought in 70 years, with more than 760,000 hectares devastated by fires in 2024, the equivalent of six times the area of ​​the city of Rio de Janeiro.


In addition to the possibility of hiring foreign pilots, another provisional measure has come to reinforce the fight against forest fires. Published on Tuesday (9), provisional measure 1,239 foresees the reduction of the rehiring period for professionals who work in fighting forest fires, from two years to three months.

By law, professionals hired by Ibama and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) can work for two years, a period that can be extended for another year. Before the publication of the provisional measure, however, there was a two-year interval between rehirings, which led to a shortage of professionals with field experience. The new text allows for faster rehirings, directly benefiting Ibama and ICMBio, in addition to helping the professionals themselves.

Leonardo Souza has worked for Prevfogo in Bahia for 14 years. He started as a firefighter, was a brigade leader and has been a brigade supervisor for Prevfogo in Bahia for the past two years. Over the years, he has carried out fire prevention and control operations in five other states: Tocantins, Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and Pará. He is pleased that Ibama has reduced the timeframe for rehiring personnel.

“It makes me happy, we have families, there are people who depend on us. This deadline gives us relief as firefighters and love what we do,” he says. “It’s a sign that things are working, we’re on the right track,” he adds.

Source: CNN Brasil

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