BRASILIA—In response to an environmental crisis that threatened mass swaths of the country, the Brazilian government announced Thursday that it was equipping crews of firefighters with flamethrowers to combat the massive Amazon rainforest. “We have marshaled our resources and distributed flamethrowers to thousands of emergency personnel so they can effectively fight this devastating tropical forest before it causes even more destruction,” said Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, noting that the massive, catastrophic biome had already expanded to over 2.1 million square miles of the country and posed significant threats for the country’s population and economy. “This huge surge of Amazon rainforest isn’t going to be contained overnight, but our hope is that the firefighters, each of whom has been given a flamethrower with a 25-foot range, as well as the helicopters equipped with thousands of gallons of oil to release over the rainforest, will be able to restrict its damage. While our focus is obviously on fighting the jungle’s perimeter, it’s also important to ask why previous administrations failed to address the conditions that let this rainforest get so out of hand.” Calling it a “global concern,” world leaders including U.S. president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping pledged to send additional flamethrowers and rescue personnel to limit the massive rainforest’s global impact.
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