Fund backed by DiCaprio pledges $5M to Amazon amid fires

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Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Under increasing international pressure to contain fires sweeping parts of the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday authorized use of the military to battle the massive blazes. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

NEW YORK (AP) — A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $5 million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires .

Earth Alliance was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. On Sunday, it launched the Amazon Forest Fund in an announcement on their website. The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the “lungs of the planet.”

Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84% over the same period in 2018.

The funds will be distributed to five local groups working to combat the problem: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni, and Instituto Socioambiental.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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