Vegetation fires see a sharp rise in Ceará in 2023

November 6, 2023

Understanding the spike in vegetation fires

In a striking contrast to previous years, the State of Ceará in Brazil has witnessed a notable upsurge in vegetation fires in 2023.

According to data released by the Military Fire Brigade of the State of Ceará (CBMCE), there has been a 46.82% increase in such incidents during the first ten months of the year.

The comparison with the same timeframe from the previous year reveals a growth from 3,816 to 5,603 fires.

September records the highest in five years

The increase includes September 2023’s record-breaking 1,757 vegetation fire callouts, the highest in the last five years.

Despite the significant increase in 2023, the 2022 figures stood at 5,214 vegetation fires, which was, in turn, less than the totals for 2021, 2020, and 2019.

During those years, the CBMCE responded to 6,751, 7,125, and 6,097 fires, respectively.

Prevention efforts and legal consequences

In response to the heightened incidence of fires, the CBMCE has issued advice to the public regarding fire prevention. It emphasized not to burn garbage or waste in the open and to keep the vegetation near homes clean and organized.

The brigade has stressed the urgency of reporting any vegetation fires to the Fire Department immediately using the emergency number 193.

Furthermore, Brazil’s firm stance on unlawful burnings is evident in its legal system.

The act of burning vegetation is deemed an environmental crime under Brazilian legislation, with the Environmental Crimes Law (Law No. 9,605/1998) prescribing severe penalties.

The law specifies the imprisonment of two to four years and a fine for fires in rural areas and imprisonment for two to six years and a fine for fires in urban areas.

The broader legal framework, including the Forest Code (Law nº 12,651/2012) along with state and municipal regulations, also plays a critical role in outlining preventive and combative measures against forest and vegetation fires.

Hotline for reporting arson

The final portion of the CBMCE’s announcement focuses on community involvement in law enforcement efforts. It encourages citizens to report any suspicious activity that could lead to the apprehension of individuals behind arson attacks on vegetation.

The public can relay such information anonymously through the hotline at number 181.

FSJA Comment

The recent report from the Military Fire Brigade of the State of Ceará has highlighted a dramatic increase in vegetation fires over the past year.

The marked rise in these fires not only disrupts ecosystems and endangers wildlife but also poses significant threats to human health and property.

Effective fire management and prevention strategies are crucial in combating this trend.

Moreover, community awareness and proactive measures are essential in reducing the occurrence of such disasters.

By understanding the patterns and causes of these fires, fire safety professionals can better allocate resources to protect at-risk areas and improve the effectiveness of response measures.

Please note that this article may have been translated using automated software; unintended translation errors may be present.

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