Amazon Conservation Develops Method to Accurately Predict Locations of Major 2020 Brazil Fires

June 12, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC, June 5 – Amazon Conservation revealed in a new report the ability to predict the exact location of major 2020 fires in the Brazilian Amazon, using deforestation data.

The fires in the Brazilian Amazon made international headlines last year. Through analysis of satellite imagery archives, Amazon Conservation made the significant discovery that many fires were burning in recently deforested areas and were not uncontrolled forest fires. Thus, Amazon Conservation is able to predict 2020 fire locations by identifying major deforestation events that occurred earlier this year.

By analyzing data from different fire alert systems implemented in the region, Amazon Conservation estimates the deforestation of over 150,000 hectares (373,240 acres) of primary forest in the Brazilian Amazon through May 25, 2020. The high amount of deforestation creates high potential for another intense fire season.

The fire analysis method and results were published in a series of reports on MAAP, Amazon Conservation’s real-time monitoring portal.

“Based on our findings last year, we know we can predict the locations of 2020 Brazilian Amazon fires based on recent deforestation,” said Dr. Matt Finer, Senior Research Specialist at Amazon Conservation and lead author of the report. “We identified 20 points with large 2020 deforestation events that are likely to burn soon.”

The report presents a base map with probable 2020 fire locations across the Brazilian Amazon, as well as satellite imagery showing examples of recent deforestation events likely to result in major fires.

“Several of the 2020 deforestation events are quite large, over 5,000 acres,” said Nadia Mamani, co-author of the report. “Large fires in these areas could escape to surrounding primary forest.”

Four of the 2020 deforestation areas predicted to burn are in the state of Mato Grosso. 

View the full report here: MAAP #119: Predicting 2020 Brazilian Amazon Fires

About Amazon Conservation

Amazon Conservation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that unites science, innovation, and community to protect the western Amazon – the greatest wild forest on Earth. Amazon Conservation’s has been pioneering conservation efforts in the tropics since 1999. Its unique approach focuses on three strategies: empowering people to become champions for conservation while improving their quality of life; protecting millions of acres of wild places home to hundreds of thousands of species of wildlife; and employing the latest discoveries in science and technology into the field of conservation. 



For more information contact:

Ana Folhadella

Communications Manager

Amazon Conservation 

Office: (202) 234-2356