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Fire consumes an area near Porto Velho, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Brazilian state experts have reported a record of nearly 77,000 wildfires across the country so far this year, up 85% over the same period in 2018. Brazil contains about 60% of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall.
Victor R. Caivano/AP
Environment

G7 World Leaders Pledge $22 Million to Fight Amazon Wildfires

World leaders at the G7 summit in France committed an immediate $22 million on Monday to fight the raging wildfires in the Amazon countries in South America that are threatening the world's biggest rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, a visitor at the summit, said that the rainforest now being ravaged by the fires represents the "lungs" of the planet for its role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

Macron said France within hours would provide military support in the region to fight the fires.

Read More: 7 Organizations You Can Support to Protect the Amazon Rainforest

Macron and Pinera said the G7 countries — the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and France — were studying the possibility of similar aid to support Africa to fight wildfires in its rainforests. Macron said the United States supported the aid to South American countries even though President Donald Trump skipped Monday's G7 working session on the environment.

More than 75,000 fires covering the Amazon region have been detected this year, with a large number of them this month. Experts have blamed farmers and ranchers for the fires, accusing them of setting the fires to clear lands for farming.