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Amazon firefighters

Amazon firefighters


Paula, 45, is a mother and part of the indigenous Macuxi people. She lives with her family in the northern Brazilian Amazon. Paula is also a member of the Indigenous Environmental Protection Brigade, which is supported by CAFOD.

Climate crisis

In 2009, after a 30-year legal battle, the Macuxi people were granted rights to remain on their land by the Brazilian government. But life is still challenging. In 2015, the community reported that the river, which they rely on for fishing and food, was drying up and that their community was dealing with the impact of drought as their land feels the effects of the climate crisis.

Fire prevention

Now, intense and prolonged droughts make their lands vulnerable to “hot spots” where fires start spontaneously. Without proper management, the fires are likely to spread out of control.

Paula volunteers as an indigenous firefighter to help prevent this by monitoring hot spots, managing the land, and putting out fires before they spread. She also trains communities to ensure that small fires, used by farmers to clear their land, are managed safely. 

When they didn’t have these tools, the communities survived however they could, and some disasters occurred – destroying communities’ crops and animals.

Jessica, Environmental Coordinator in Brazil

How your fundraising helps

Thanks to funding from CAFOD supporters, Paula and the rest of the indigenous fire brigade have access to tools, such as hoes, sickles and hammers, to help with land management. 

Jessica, a local Environment Coordinator who works with Paula said, “The teams need these tools (hammer, sickle and hoe) to do fire prevention work. They use these tools to manage the land, especially around hills, so that fires don’t spread rapidly up or downhill. They do this work around the community so that the fires don’t spread to their crops.”

Elisa, 55, another voluntary community firefighter said, “I feel proud that I'm here... fighting fires, I'm a warrior woman!”

Download this case study

Fight fires in the Amazon

This unique World Gift can pay for essential tools such as hoes, sickles and hammers to enable indigenous fire brigades to manage the land they live on, preventing fires from starting or spreading.