President Trump made an offer of aid to Brazil’s president on Friday in case the government of the South American nation needed help containing massive forest fires engulfing the Amazon rainforest.
Trump tweeted that he made contact with President Jair Bolsonaro and had “very exciting” trade prospects between the U.S. and Brazil. He added that the relationship between the two nations was “perhaps stronger than ever.”
“I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand by ready to assist!” Trump said on Twitter Friday evening. Bolsonaro retweeted Trump’s message.
Almost 40,000 fires are incinerating Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the latest outbreak in an overactive fire season that has burned 1,330 square miles of the rainforest this year. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research described an 84 percent increase compared to this same period last year. Sao Paulo was without electricity for about one hour Monday afternoon as a result of the fires about 1,600 miles away.
On Friday, Bolsonaro announced that the Brazilian armed forces will step in to help public security agencies and public environmental agencies fight the fires. He also warned foreign powers against meddling in what he viewed as a domestic issue.
“The Brazilian Amazon is a heritage of our people, who will protect it from the threats of those who harm the forest with illegal actions and will react to those who intend to violate our sovereignty,” Bolsonaro’s announcement said.
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron, the host and leader of this year’s summit, called on G7 members to discuss Amazon fires this week. Brazil is not a member of G7 and will not be present.
“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest — the lungs which produce 20 percent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire,” Macron said. “It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”