Photos show how 'fire warriors' are still fighting fires in the ravaged Amazon Rainforest

A marine is silhouetted against a raging fire in the Chiquitania Forest in Santa Rosa de Tucabaca, on the outskirts of Robore, Bolivia, on August 28.A marine is silhouetted against a raging fire in the Chiquitania Forest in Santa Rosa de Tucabaca, on the outskirts of Robore, Bolivia, on August 28.Juan Karita / AP

  • Though the fires aren't as bad as they were in August, the Amazon Rainforest is still burning.
  • In October, The Washington Post reported on a group of "elite" local firefighters, battling fires in Mato Gross, in the Amazon. There, local, well-trained firefighters are covering hundreds of miles each day to contain the fires.
  • They're not alone. In Brazil, 44,000 soldiers were deployed to fight the fires, while Bolivia deployed 5,000.
  • The decrease in fires is partly because of the war firefighters have waged against the flames. Rain has helped, too.
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Firefighters are still trying to stop the fires that have ravaged much of the Amazon Rainforest.

The Washington Post reported on a group of "elite" local firefighters, known as the "guerreiros de fogo" or "fire warriors," who are still fighting fires in Mato Gross, Brazil.

Led by former US Army paratrooper John Carter, these local, well-trained firefighters cover hundreds of miles each day putting out or containing fires. And they're making a difference.

They're also not the only ones fighting fires in the Amazon. In Brazil, after international condemnation about the state of the rainforest, President Jair Bolsonaro sent in 44,000 troops to douse fires at the end of August.

Bolivia also 5,000 soldiers to fight the forest fires in its chunk of the Amazon.

Here's what it's like for the "fire warriors" on the frontlines.

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In August, Brazil's rainforest was burning the most since 2010. At one point, 31,000 fires were burning ...

In August, Brazil's rainforest was burning the most since 2010. At one point, 31,000 fires were burning ...

Sources: Reuters, Washington Post, Independent

... which created a 1.2 million-square-mile layer of smoke.

... which created a 1.2 million-square-mile layer of smoke.

Source: Independent

After facing intense scrutiny from the international community, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro agreed to send in 44,000 troops to fight the fires at the end of August.

After facing intense scrutiny from the international community, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro agreed to send in 44,000 troops to fight the fires at the end of August.

Sources: HuffPost, Independent

By September, the number of fires burning had fallen to 20,000 — a six year low. It's unusual, because September is usually when fires increase. For comparison, 24,500 fires burned in September 2018.

By September, the number of fires burning had fallen to 20,000 — a six year low. It's unusual, because September is usually when fires increase. For comparison, 24,500 fires burned in September 2018.

Sources: Reuters, Washington Post

And it's likely that the decrease is a mix of Brazil's military fighting the fires and more rain, Maria Silva Dias, a professor and forest fire expert at the University of Sao Paulo, told Reuters.

And it's likely that the decrease is a mix of Brazil's military fighting the fires and more rain, Maria Silva Dias, a professor and forest fire expert at the University of Sao Paulo, told Reuters.

Source: Reuters

Fires, many of which were started on purpose to clear land for farming, have burned indiscriminately — in parks, ranches, government land, and indigenous land. At the end of August, Bolsonaro also issued a 60-day ban on starting fires.

Fires, many of which were started on purpose to clear land for farming, have burned indiscriminately — in parks, ranches, government land, and indigenous land. At the end of August, Bolsonaro also issued a 60-day ban on starting fires.

Sources: Washington Post, CNN

Here, a firefighter from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) attempts to control the direction of the fire on indigenous land in September.

Here, a firefighter from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) attempts to control the direction of the fire on indigenous land in September.

Source: Washington Post

Another member of IBAMA fire brigades extinguishes the smoldering remains of a fire here. Before the fires broke out this year, Bolsonaro spoke about shutting down the organization, because he wanted forested regions to be developed. The government still sent them in, though, and barred members from speaking to the media.

Another member of IBAMA fire brigades extinguishes the smoldering remains of a fire here. Before the fires broke out this year, Bolsonaro spoke about shutting down the organization, because he wanted forested regions to be developed. The government still sent them in, though, and barred members from speaking to the media.

Sources: Reuters, ABC News

Some of the firefighters wield eight-foot poles with mats attached to the end, and slap them down on the fires. Or they shoot water from hoses attached to water tanks, like a "child's Super Soaker," ABC News reported.

Some of the firefighters wield eight-foot poles with mats attached to the end, and slap them down on the fires. Or they shoot water from hoses attached to water tanks, like a "child's Super Soaker," ABC News reported.

Source: ABC News

They use all of the tools they have on hand. Water bags are refilled from nearby streams ...

They use all of the tools they have on hand. Water bags are refilled from nearby streams ...

... dirt is shoveled on to fires to suffocate them ...

... dirt is shoveled on to fires to suffocate them ...

... and from the sky, fighter jets dump water and fire retardant onto fires. The Brazilian government also hired a Boeing 747-400, which is capable of dropping 19,000 gallons per trip, to assist.

... and from the sky, fighter jets dump water and fire retardant onto fires. The Brazilian government also hired a Boeing 747-400, which is capable of dropping 19,000 gallons per trip, to assist.

Source: CNN

But for the most part, firefighters' tools are rudimentary. And the Amazon is so large that firefighters can't stop many of the fires.

But for the most part, firefighters' tools are rudimentary. And the Amazon is so large that firefighters can't stop many of the fires.

Source: Reuters

In Bolivia, at least 4.2 million acres of forest have burned. The government sent in 5,000 troops to battle the fires, and said it has spent $20 million on the fight.

In Bolivia, at least 4.2 million acres of forest have burned. The government sent in 5,000 troops to battle the fires, and said it has spent $20 million on the fight.

Sources: The New York Times, CNN

The fires became so bad Bolivian President Evo Morales put his re-election campaign on hold to fight the fires. Despite his firsthand efforts to help, environmentalists have criticized him for passing laws that encourage slash and burning to make room for farmland.

The fires became so bad Bolivian President Evo Morales put his re-election campaign on hold to fight the fires. Despite his firsthand efforts to help, environmentalists have criticized him for passing laws that encourage slash and burning to make room for farmland.

Sources: NPR, The Guardian

Some volunteer firefighters in Bolivia worked by night to keep cool, and to be able to see the fires more clearly.

Some volunteer firefighters in Bolivia worked by night to keep cool, and to be able to see the fires more clearly.

Source: The Guardian

Here, it's police and military working as a group to stop a fire, but farmers, accountants, and construction workers have also made up the crews fighting Bolivia's fires. Often, they're doing it with donated gear, including fire hoses that are full of holes.

Here, it's police and military working as a group to stop a fire, but farmers, accountants, and construction workers have also made up the crews fighting Bolivia's fires. Often, they're doing it with donated gear, including fire hoses that are full of holes.

Source: NPR

It's dangerous work. A volunteer named Andres Manaca was nearly trapped by fires twice over an eight-day period he spent fighting them. At one point he was in a group of volunteers who had to flee as the fire came for them. “It was violent, like lightning,” he told The Guardian.

It's dangerous work. A volunteer named Andres Manaca was nearly trapped by fires twice over an eight-day period he spent fighting them. At one point he was in a group of volunteers who had to flee as the fire came for them. “It was violent, like lightning,” he told The Guardian.

Source: The Guardian

And it's not always a rewarding job, in the traditional sense. One firefighter chief told ABC News he was aware fighting the flames was futile, but if they could save a few things, it was worth it.

And it's not always a rewarding job, in the traditional sense. One firefighter chief told ABC News he was aware fighting the flames was futile, but if they could save a few things, it was worth it.

Source: ABC News

Not everyone thinks firefighters have made a difference. Retired colonel Angelo Robelo, who has fought poachers and monitored fires in the Amazon for 30 years, told ABC News only mother nature could make a difference.

Not everyone thinks firefighters have made a difference. Retired colonel Angelo Robelo, who has fought poachers and monitored fires in the Amazon for 30 years, told ABC News only mother nature could make a difference.

Source: ABC News

But it appears they have made an impact. Bolivia's armed forces commander said there was no plan to withdraw the troops. So for now, the firefighters will continue on.

But it appears they have made an impact. Bolivia's armed forces commander said there was no plan to withdraw the troops. So for now, the firefighters will continue on.

Source: The New York Times

And soldiers, like this one, will continue to monitor the progress of one of the worst years for Amazon Rainforest fires in recent history.

And soldiers, like this one, will continue to monitor the progress of one of the worst years for Amazon Rainforest fires in recent history.

Source: The New York Times

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