- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 21, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is suggesting that non-governmental organizations could be to blame for an unusually high number of wildfires in the Amazon.

Bolsonaro said Wednesday that nonprofits whose budgets have been cut may be setting fires “to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil.” He didn’t cite any evidence.

The government monitoring agency says Brazil has seen a record number of wildfires this year, counting 74,155 as of Tuesday. That’s up 84 percent over the same period last year.

Some NGOs blame Bolsonaro’s pro-development policies for a reportedly sharp increase in Amazon deforestation and the government has faced international pressure to protect the vast rainforest from illegal logging or mining activities.

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