State of emergency declared over wildfires in Brazil's Pantanal wetland

Brazilian researchers say a record high number of wildfires for June are burning in the Pantanal wetland, prompting local authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research has announced that 2,363 fires broke out in the wetland in the country from June 1 to 23. Most of the wetland is located in Brazil.

The researchers said the number was more than five times that observed in June 2005, when a record high for the month was posted. They blamed prolonged dry spells with little rainfall.

Local authorities declared a state of emergency for 180 days on Monday, saying that fires usually increase from July to September every year.

The wetland is home to diverse wildlife and one of the largest in the world, spanning Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay over roughly 200,000 square kilometers. Some of the area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Last year, Brazil suffered what was described as the worst drought on record in the Amazon River Basin.