Brazil has banned setting fires to clear land for 60 days in response to a massive increase in the number of fires in the Amazon rainforest.
The decree was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has faced intense criticism at home and abroad for failing to protect the rainforest.
Prosecutors have been investigating allegations that some of the fires were triggered by illegal clearing of land and the decree now bans setting fires for this purpose across the entire country.
Mr Bolsonaro has accepted Chile’s offer of four planes to fight the fires, the most in Brazil since 2010 but he has refused a G7 offer of $22m (£18m) following a spat with French President Emmanuel Macron as South American countries will meet next week to discuss the crisis.
A leading Brazilian environmentalist had warned that the “worst of the fire is yet to come.”
It remains unclear what impact the ban will have, as environmentalists say the overwhelming majority of forest clearance in the Brazilian Amazon is already illegal and enforcement is lax.
The Amazon a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming, has seen more than 80,000 fires break out so far this year, a 77% rise on the same period in 2018.
Environmentalists say “the increase is due in part to policies enacted by Mr Bolsonaro’s administration.’’