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still ablaze

Amazon fires decreased in September, but scientists aren't sure why

After August saw a nine-year high in the number of fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest, garnering international attention, September saw a significant drop. But scientists aren't sure why.

Typically the peak of dry season, there are usually more fires in September in Brazil. But this year, there was a 35 percent drop in fires from the month before, and a 20 percent drop from September 2018, reports The Washington Post.

Scientists point to rain and Brazil's firefighting response as possible reasons for the surprising drop, according to the Post, but say it will take more time to determine the effect of the government interventions.

And while fewer fires seems like progress, the number of Amazon fires from January through September 2019 was 43 percent greater than that of 2018.

Most of the fires are set by people looking for land to farm cattle or soy where forests are too difficult to destroy with bulldozers. Scientists are concerned that increasing deforestation could disrupt the ecosystem enough to transform parts of the largest rainforest in the world into an arid savanna. Read more at The Washington Post.