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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Fires rage in Brazil's rainforest
A state of emergency has been declared in Brazil's western state of Acre as fires continue to rage across the country's vast Amazon region.

Thousands of hectares of the world's largest rainforest have already been destroyed by the blazes.

Acre's Governor Jorge Viana urged the federal government in Brasilia to act swiftly, expressing particular concerns about pollution caused by the smoke.

Hundreds of soldiers, rescuers and also local residents are battling the fires.

Correspondents say it is not known what caused the blazes, some of which broke out nearly two weeks ago.

Some 500 people have been evacuated from the area, officials said earlier this week.

In the past, authorities have blamed farmers who burned forested areas in the dry season to make space for their crops.

The blazes have often raged out of control in recent years.


SEE ALSO:
Fires of the Amazon comments
02 Sep 02 |  Read your comments
Forest fires cool Amazonia
17 Feb 02 |  Boston 2002
Amazon forest 'could vanish fast'
25 Jun 01 |  Science/Nature


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