The Project

The Pantanal is in flames.
In 2020, we have experienced the worst drought in 47 years. Through until the end of August, more than 2,200,000 hectares of vegetation had been consumed by fires that continue to burn, having destroyed 13% of the Pantanal’s total area. We are suffering the worst fires recorded since the monitoring started 22 years ago.
The Pantanal covers an area bigger than Portugal, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium put together, and since many regions can only be reached by boat, the challenge of keeping the fires under control is that much greater. And even with the efforts of all the anonymous heroes, it is impossible to tackle the fire now it has spread over hundreds and hundreds of square kilometers, as can be seen in the shocking reports that include photographs from Brazilian and international satellites.

Fires start as the result of human action every year in the Pantanal but when it spreads out of control before the rainy season due to accidents or criminal activity, everyone loses; from those who make a living off the land, to those who live in the region, as well as the rich biodiversity that is so unique that UNESCO has declared it a Natural Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

You too can help to avoid hundreds of animals being burned and families losing their livelihood as a result of the uncontrolled fires, a situation that has been happening with increased frequency over recent years. Join in and help the Brigada Alto Pantanal campaign which, in addition to currently fighting the fires with its team of collaborators, using donated resources, intends to assemble a permanent, trained and equipped fire department, which will work ceaselessly on the prevention and control of the fires as soon as they are sighted.

What we have done so far

Since the hiring of firefighters by IBAMA and ICMBio is performed on a seasonal basis, between July and December, and it is not possible to hire enough men to work in the more remote and less inhabited regions of the Pantanal, the idea arose of assembling a permanent and professional fire department to complement the actions of the State.

Since February this year, the Homem Pantaneiro Institute has been using donated resources to mobilize fire departments to fight the fire, but the blazes are still much bigger than the team assembled, and as it spreads so quickly, the time needed for training and hiring could cause incalculable damage.

With this in mind, the Homem Pantaneiro Institute had the idea of creating a professional, specialized group of trained, equipped and salaried individuals who would patrol the Serra do Amolar and Encontro das Águas State Park and National Park regions. This is the area with the greatest concentration of jaguars anywhere in the world and it is an essential area for the conservation of the environment and economies of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states.

“Without preparation, there is no way of fighting the fire. The greatest challenge is finding time to hire and train the team. This is why, only with permanent, trained and equipped teams, can we avoid such sad scenes of charred monkeys, ocelots and jaguars becoming regular features on the TV news,”

Angelo Rabelo, Director of Institutional Relations for the Homem Pantaneiro Institute.

Equally aware of the gravity of the situation, and a partner in the project, the ‘Documenta Pantanal’ initiative, that unites artists, develops cultural activities, and supports numerous campaigns designed to benefit the region, understands the importance of the project and considers investment in the training of firefighters and the immediate mobilization of the public to be of fundamental importance for the understanding and preservation of this ecosystem.

Brigada Alto Pantanal

“When we save the landscape, we also save all the plants
and animals which inhabit it, including ourselves”

Haroldo Palo Jr (1953 - 2017)

The name chosen to represent the group of firefighters pays homage to the naturalist and documentary filmmaker Haroldo Palo Jr. (1953-2017). Passionate about both the biodiversity and the people of the region, he was responsible for bringing the beauty of the Pantanal to the world, especially in the 1980s, when he acted as a guide to a team led by the documentary filmmaker Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997).

Because of his career and contribution to the conservation of this area that is of such importance to Brazil, we believe that his name best represents our ideas in this fight for preservation.

Brasão Brigada Alto Pantanal - Haroldo Palo Jr
The Brigada Alto Pantanal emblem pays tribute to the memory of Haroldo Palo Jr

Campaign

Our aim is to establish two teams of trained and equipped firefighters who will remain in the region for 12 months, and to also collaborate with the veterinary costs related to the wildlife. But as we are already working directly in the field, we have other areas in which fund-raising is also of vital importance.

These are:

Corporate donations

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Management of resources

A management committee will be created for the team of firefighters consisting of a representative from the Homem Pantaneiro Institute, a representative from the Panthera Brasil NGO, and the eco-tourism guide and community leader Ailton Lara, who has been invited due to the importance of his work in relation to the fires that are ravaging the Pantanal. Lara stopped fighting the flames that were threatening his own hotel and, together with two firefighters, went to fight the fires in the State Park. His observation that “we can build a hotel again, but not animals’ lives” summarizes the spirit of the initiative and the legacy of Haroldo Palo Jr.

Implementation strategy

Each team of firefighters will be made up of 7 people, one of whom is the leader, with each of them having a specific function and responsibility for a piece of equipment: flame damper, backpack sprayer, chainsaw, brush cutter, water pump and attached hose, among others.

The aim is to implement two teams, meaning there will be one team in the northern part of the region and another in the south.

The work will not be limited to putting out fires. The team will always be engaged in prevention and Integrated Fire Management (IFM).

How will the resources help to fight the fires?

The budget will be used for three main objectives:

The firefighters’
salaries

PPE

• Firefighter overalls (R$ 1.400,00)
• Balaclava (R$ 131,00)
• High-temperature gloves (R$ 402,00)
• Combat boots (R$ 360,00)
• Protective kit (goggles, sun protection, helmet, leggings) (R$ 1078,00)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the firefighters’ fire handling

Equipment

• 20-liter, flexible, flame damper backpack (R$ 886,00)
• Pump-blower backpack (R$ 3.300,00)
• Scythe chainsaw (R$ 7.638,00)
• Brush cutter(R$ 3.495,00)
• Motor pump blower (R$ 1.740,00)
• Chainsaw Hoses for motor-pumps (R$ 2.000,00)

Transport
vehicles

Vehicles

• 14-seat boat (R$ 78.000)
• Boat motor of more than 115 HP (R$ 54.610,00)

PPE

• Firefighter overalls (R$ 1.400,00)
• Balaclava (R$ 131,00)
• High-temperature gloves (R$ 402,00)
• Combat boots (R$ 360,00)
• Protective kit (goggles, sun protection, helmet, leggings) (R$ 1078,00)

Equipment

• 20-liter, flexible, flame damper backpack (R$ 886,00)
• Pump-blower backpack (R$ 3.300,00)
• Scythe chainsaw (R$ 7.638,00)
• Brush cutter(R$ 3.495,00)
• Motor pump blower (R$ 1.740,00)
• Chainsaw Hoses for motor-pumps (R$ 2.000,00)

Vehicles

• 14-seat boat (R$ 78.000)
• Boat motor of more than 115 HP (R$ 54.610,00)

Campaign Objectives

2 teams of 7 people for 12 months

Equipment for both teams

2 motorboats

2 teams of 7 people for 12 months

Equipment for both teams

2 motorboats

• But doesn’t the region already have boats?
The region does already have boats, but during the dry season, and also during the period when tourists come to view the wildlife, boats big enough to carry a team of fully-equipped firefighters can cost as much as R$ 1,000.00 per day. By acquiring their own boats, the fire department can direct more resources to the firefighters’ salaries, for example.

The campaign’s targets are:

1. Implement a team of 6 people and keep it operating in the region for 3 months
R$ 89.239,72

2. Efficiently equip the 6-person team of firefighters
R$ 87.923,044.

3. Acquire a boat to transport a team of firefighters
R$ 188.090,76

4. Implement and equip a second team of 6 people and keep it operating in the region for 3 months
R$ 177.163,57

5. Acquire a boat to transport a second team of firefighters
R$ 188.090,76

6. Provide for the upkeep of the teams of firefighters in the field for another 9 months
R$ 466.168,39

Budget

The budget for the project is divided into the firefighting equipment, salaries and vehicles.

To create the team of firefighters, we need to raise enough resources to train the firefighters, cover the costs of the periods they spend in the field, properly equip them, and have the means to transport them to the areas that are on fire. As such, we have divided the budget into a series of targets:

With the resources, we will train new firefighters drawn from the local people living along the riverbanks, creating an opportunity to minimize the impact of the fire and also the lack of tourism during the pandemic (boat captains, guides, etc.). Following this we will transport the trained PrevFogo (State Fire Prevention Department) firefighters and cover all costs involving their transportation, meals, housing and remuneration in the field for 3 months. It will also be possible to provide the firefighters with basic equipment. It is therefore important that we continue with our fund-raising, so that once the second target has been achieved, we can equip the team properly.

Once the third target has been achieved, we intend to purchase a boat that can carry the firefighters and their equipment and therefore allow for the implementation of the second team.

At the end of the period proposed for the employment of the contracted team of firefighters, if there is a positive financial balance, the resources will be reserved to be able to cover employment expenses in 2021.

All the equipment acquired will form part of the assets belonging to the Homem Pantaneiro Institute, whilst part will be made available by means of a Terms of Responsibility for employment in the other regions that the project is interested in working in.

At the end of the operations, the equipment will be collected and stored for use in other firefighting operations.

Fauna

20% of the resources received will be directed towards veterinary costs.

10% of what is raised from the campaign will be directed into construction of a mobile veterinary service in the Serra do Amolar region, and another 10% will go towards expanding the Ampara Silvestre NGO’s mobile service, which already provides first aid services to fire-affected animals in the Transpantaneira/Porto Jofre region.

Association

Documenta Pantanal

Instituto Homem Pantaneiro

Wahba Filmes

Partnerships

Ampara Silvestre

Fundação Panthera

IBAMA MMA

Instituto Questão de Ciência

Mercado Bitcoin

Instituitions

CNRPPN

Freeland Brasil

Fundação Ecotropica

Fundação Grupo Boticário

Greenpeace

ISA CTEEP

Pangea Produções

SOS Pantanal

SPVS

Reserva da Biosfera do Pantanal

ICMBio MMA

Rede Nacional Pró-unidades de Conservação

Zumbi

MSA

Observatório Pantanal

UNESCO

VIVA Instituto Verde Azul

Description of Costs

Copyright 2020

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