Brazil prosecutors probe surge in Amazon deforestation and fires

A satellite image shows smoke rising from Amazon rainforest fires and cleared land in the State of Rondonia, just southwest of Porto Velho, Brazil in the upper Amazon River basin on August 15, 2019. Mandatory credit Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors in Brazil said on Thursday they will investigate a spike in deforestation and wildfires raging in the Amazon state of Pará to determine whether there has been reduced monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections.

The investigation announced by the prosecutors office in Pará follows a surge in fires and destruction of the Amazon rainforest that experts blame on reduced protection of the environment under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito; Editing by Chris Reese