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For Immediate Release:
September 19, 2019
Media Contact:
Olga Vega
[email protected]

Commissioner Diaz’s legislation allows donation of firefighting training equipment to combat the Amazon Rainforest Fires

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – The Miami-Dade County Commission on Sept. 19 adopted a resolution co-primed by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Commissioner Sally A. Heyman which will allow the donation of certain firefighting equipment for training efforts to combat the Amazon rainforest fires.

There have been more than 70,000 fires reported in the Amazon since the beginning of the year, an increase of 84 percent. The Amazon spans eight countries, covering roughly 40 percent of South America, and is often referred to as “the planet’s lungs,” as it produces 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen. These fires have released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tons of carbon emissions every year, and is one of the planet's best defenses against the climate crisis.

On Friday, Sept. 6, at a summit in Colombia, seven South American countries signed a pact setting up a disaster response network. “As elected officials, it is our duty to help when aid is needed, especially when our County is home to many nationals of the countries affected by these fires: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Suriname,” said Commissioner Diaz.

Scientists who study the Amazon worry that deforestation could bring the rainforest to an ecological “tipping point” at which the entire ecosystem collapses. Since the rainforest brings rainfall across South America, much of the continent would become hotter and drier if large portions of it were to be destroyed. The shift to a more arid climate would devastate the vast agricultural areas farther south; parts of South America would become effectively unlivable.