516 major fires, most of them illegal, covering 376,416 hectares (912,863 acres) were detected between May 28 and August 25, 2020, with the Amazon fire season not even half over, and expected to run at least through September.Of those fires, 12% were within intact forests, while the rest were in recently deforested areas where the cut trees were allowed to dry out before being lit on fire to convert the former rainforest to cattle pasture and croplands.Most of these fires were illegal, being in direct defiance of a total Amazon fire ban issued by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on July 15, 2020.IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, which annually fought Amazon fires in the past, has a greatly diminished role this year, having largely been defunded by the Bolsonaro administration. Fire suppression this year falls to the Brazilian Army, which has little experience controlling Amazon blazes. The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon has risen dramatically in recent weeks and now achieved a bleak milestone: more than 500 major, largely illegal, fires have been detected in the region since the end of May. A total of 516 fires covering 376,416 hectares (912,863 acres) — an area nearly 5 times the land area of New York City — were detected between May 28 and August 25. Over half of these fires occurred in just the past two weeks, according to satellite data analysis by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP).