Brazil unveils $200M plan to halt destruction of its tropical savanna

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's government has unveiled plans to slow the deforestation and help halt the wildfires that destroy its tropical savanna.

The government plans to spend $200 million in the next two years to combat illegal deforestation and prevent fires.

The destruction is due to expanding cattle ranches, the clearing of land for massive farms and the felling of trees to produce charcoal used by steel industries.

The government says Wednesday it will step up patrols to combat these activities.

Also, an additional 4,500 firefighters will be hired to focus on the area, which is hit hard annually by devastating wildfires.

Brazil's savanna covers nearly 25 percent of its territory, stretching from its midwest to the northeast.