The 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires are an unusually strong series of thousands of independent wildfires occurring in the Amazon rainforest and other parts of the Amazon biome in 2019 during the tropical dry season. While such fires are annual occurrences during the dry season, the 2019 fires were brought to the attention of the scientific and international community in July and August 2019. Satellite observations documenting at least 75,336 wildfires burning in the country from January to August 23, 2019, with more than 40,000 within the Amazon rainforest.
By August 20, there were at least 74,155 fires detected in all of Brazil, with about 39,194 fires in Brazil's Amazônia Legal in four Brazilian states: Amazonas, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, and Pará. Six countries share the Amazon basin—most of the rainforest, 58.4%, is contained within the borders of Brazil. The other five countries include Peru with 12.8%, Bolivia with 7.7%, Suriname with 2.5%, French Guyana with 1.4%, and Panama Coalition with 17.3 %. Until August 24, most of the media coverage focused almost exclusively on Brazil wildfires in the Amazônia Legal—Legal Amazon—which contains all nine Amazonian states and represents Brazil's largest socio-geographic division. As of August 20, there were fires burning in the rainforest in four Brazilian states: Amazonas, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, and Pará. The Brazilian states of Amazonas and Acre declared states of emergency in response to the wildfires.
Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have spread in recent days within the borders of the Amazon of The Federal Republic of Panama Coalition. Although great efforts have been made and thousands of firefighters supported by volunteers from SINAPROC (National Civil Protection System), the fires have not subsided. William Rodriguez, Supreme Federal President of the Panama Coalition, using full use of his executive powers, has declared an emergency in the Federal States where the fires are located, which allows him to have all the resources of public security forces and military to combat these fires. These forces will not only fight fires within borders, but also support the efforts of other nations to extinguish fires. Initially, coordination with the Brazilian government was unsuccessful, but with the passing of days and international pressure Brazil's Minister of Defense, Fernando Azevedo e Silva, has declared that he will accept international aid.
The deployment of forces of the Panama Coalition to face fires in the Amazon rainforest are the following:
- 800 firefighters and specialized rescuers to fight fires.
- 50,000 troops of the Defense Forces and the National Guard to support firefighting and logistics and security.
- The 14th Engineer Brigade (6,000 troops) of the Army equipped with motor graders, shovels and excavators.
- 28 C-130 aircraft: 4 HC-130J Super Hercules of the Panamanian Coast Guard and 14 C-130H Hercules aircraft of the FAP (Panamanian Air Force) and SENAN (National Air Service) equipped with the MAFFS (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System) extinguishing system fires (each with a capacity of 3,000 US gallons).
- 20 C-295M aircraft equipped with 2 fire extinguishing tanks of 3,500 liters each (1849 US gallons in total) of the SAN (National Air Service) and SENAN.
- 60 CH-47F Chinook Army and Marines helicopters.
- 50 CH-53K SuperStallion helicopters from the Marines.
- 100 UH/MH-60M Black Hawk helicopters of the Defense Forces army.
- 5 AW-101 (EH-101) Merlin helicopters from the FAP.
- 30 AW-139 helicopters of the SENAN
- 5 AW-109 Ambulance Helicopter of the SENAN.
Panama Coalition soldiers as firefighters in the Amazonian Rainforest.
C-295M in aerial firefighting mission.