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G-7 countries agree to immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires

 Brazil Amazon rainforest fires
Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 08:13:12-04

G-7 countries have agreed to an immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

RELATED: Fund backed by Leonardo DiCaprio pledges $5M to Amazon amid fires

The announcement came from French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of this year’s meeting of G-7 leaders, and the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Macron said that the Amazon represents the “lungs” of the planet and that leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

RELATED: Brazil's Bolsonaro causes global outrage over Amazon fires

Macron said the U.S. supported the initiative, although he acknowledged that U.S. President Donald Trump had skipped Monday’s working session on the environment.

RELATED: Wildfires are burning the Amazon rainforest at a record rate, research center says

Satellites have recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year — with more than half of those coming this month alone. Experts say most of the fires are set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.