World's Largest Wetland Is Ablaze, But The Fire Is Often Invisible

  • 01 Sep 2020

  • Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland is burning with the worst fires in the last 15 years.
  • It sprawls across three South American countries—Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.
  • The region is a vast flood plain that normally fills with water during the rainy season, roughly from November to March. But the floods were lower than normal this year and a subsequent drought has left the area dangerously susceptible to fire.
  • In Brazil's Pantanal, the vegetation compacted under the marshy flood water during the wet season dries out as ponds and lagoons evaporate, leaving flammable deposits underground that can continue to smolder long after visible flames die down.
  • Firefighters across Brazil are battling raging towers of flames from the Amazon rainforest to the Cerrado savannah, but the fires beneath their feet are a particular challenge in the Pantanal.
  • The Pantanal in Brazil is a UNESCO World Heritage Siterenowned for its unique biodiversity.