Campaigners say indigenous territories make easy targets for loggers and farmers seeking land or valuable wood
Fires have been reported in protected indigenous reserves of the Brazilian Amazon, raising fears that loggers and land grabbers have targeted these remote areas during the dramatic surge in blazes across the worlds biggest rainforest.
Blazes have been seen on the Araribia indigenous reserve in Maranho state a heavily deforested reserve on the Amazons eastern fringes, which is home to about 80 people from an isolated group of Aw indigenous people, described by the NGO Survival International as the worlds most endangered tribe.
Brazils far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has been widely criticised for failing to respond quickly to the crisis, issued a decree on Thursday banning fires in the Amazon for 60 days a move environmentalists described as largely symbolic.
The fires are often used to clear pasture and deforested areas in the Amazon during dry winter months, but there have been 28,000 this month more than any August since 2010.
Bolsonaro has been accused of helping stoke the crisis by encouraging invasions of protected reserves with his promises to develop the Amazon, and force his vision of progress on indigenous peoples.
Campaigners say indigenous territories make easy targets for loggers and farmers and settlers seeking land or valuable wood.
Antenor Vaz, a former employee at Brazils indigenous agency Funai and consultant on isolated indigenous peoples, said research based on Nasa images showed that fires broke out in 131 indigenous reserves from 15-20 August. Of those, 15 were home to indigenous groups who are isolated or in stages of initial contact.
Most of these people are constantly fleeing, they are constantly being threatened, he said. These people depend on the forest and as fire kills the animals they feel completely desperate with the situation.
Tainaky Tenetehar, 34, a coordinator for the Guardians of the Forest a volunteer indigenous force that patrols the reserve said that the fires had been set by loggers. He said: To make it harder, they are stopping the indigenous fire brigade from combating the fires.
He said the fires were less severe than those in 2015, which swept the reserve and were also blamed on illegal loggers.