Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday his country lacks the resources to combat the raging wildfires in the Amazon.
“The Amazon is bigger than Europe. How are you going to fight criminal fires in this area?” Bolsonaro said.
He also said the Ministry of Justice lacked enough staff to investigate how the fires began.
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro suggested non-governmental organizations may have started the fires. He continued this line of reasoning on Thursday, saying the fires are related to environmentalists’ opposition to his government.
“The NGOs lost money, the money that came from Norway and Germany to here. They’re unemployed. What do they need to do? Try to overthrow me,” he told reporters in Brasilia.
More context: The Amazon rainforest is about two-thirds the size of continental Europe. The Amazon covers 6.7 million square kilometers (2.5 million square miles), according to the World Wildlife Fund, while continental Europe covers 9.9 million square kilometers (3.8 million square miles), according to the Central Intelligence Agency.