Seven ballooners are investigated by Civil police and by Public Ministry (MP) suspected of having caused the fire that killed animals and affected the Juquery State Park, in Franco da Rocha and Caieiras, in Greater São Paulo. No people were hurt. The fire started on Sunday (22), but the Fire Department continued in place this Tuesday (24) trying to erase outbreaks.
The group of ballooners was detained on Sunday by the Municipal Civil Guard (GCM) of Franco da Rocha. Taken to the police station, one of the suspects, a lawyer, paid bail of R$3,000 stipulated by the police authority, to be released and respond to the crime in freedom. The other six men were also released.
O G1 was unable to locate the seven suspects investigated for comment until the last update of this report.
Military Police helicopter fighting fire at Juquery State Park, in Franco da Rocha, Greater SP — Photo: Reproduction/TV Globo
According to the press office of Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) “the case was registered as manufacturing, selling, transporting or releasing balloons and the police authority arbitrated bail, as required by law, which was paid and the man released.” In case of conviction in court, the penalty for these crimes is 1 to 3 years of imprisonment or payment of fines.
The main hypothesis of the police investigation, however, remains that the fall of a balloon, on Sunday, caused a fire in the area of more than 1,600 hectares of Juquery Park. The area is considered by specialists to be the last remnant of Cerrado in the metropolitan region of São Paulo.
On Sunday, a witness filmed a balloon flying over and falling near Juquery Park. In addition, park officials found a balloon structure on Tuesday in the burned area. The material was seized by the authorities and will be taken to the Office of Investigations into Offenses against the Environment (DIICMA) in Franco da Rocha.
VIDEO: Animal is rescued from a fire area at Juquery State Park, in SP
DIICMA is investigating the causes and possible responsibilities for the fire in the park, according to the press office of the Public Security Secretariat (SSP) of São Paulo. “The unit’s team analyzes images and searches for elements that help in identifying the source of the fire”, informs the folder.
Also according to the SSP, the police station “also investigates whether those detained for releasing a balloon on Sunday (22), in the city, have any connection with the start of the fire. Seven were taken to the Franco da Rocha Police Station, where a lawyer, 44, confessed to the action and was arrested in the act – the others were heard and released.”
Juquery Forest Park after a fire that burned savanna vegetation — Photo: Divulgation/Environmental Military Police
In addition to the seven suspected ballooners, the Security Secretariat reported that four more men were arrested on Sunday because they released balloons in other cities in the state: three were detained by the GCM of Itaquaquecetuba; one was caught by Military Police (PM) in jacarei. All were later released to answer for environmental crime.
The press office of the Public Ministry said on Tuesday that there are two investigations by the agency into the Juquery Park:
The MP monitors the calculation of the criminal inquiry Civil Police on the causes and possible responsibilities for the fire at the site.
The other investigation is in the civil sphere and already existed. O Environmental Defense Special Action Group (Gaema) of the Head Office of the Public Ministry investigates “possible deficiencies in personnel, allocation of resources, management and structure in the Juquery Park.”
Until this Tuesday, at least three animals were rescued or found dead in the area of the Juquery Park that was set on fire: two snakes and a hedgehog.
“The animals died, they were in very complicated situations. The situation is very sad,” said the captain Paola Mele, commander of the 1st Company of the 1st Environmental Military Police Battalion.
Environmental Military Police vehicle at Juquery State Park — Photo: Disclosure/Environmental Military Police of SP
The Environmental Police is studying the possibility of fining ballooners in BRL 10 thousand each for environmental infringement.
Other animals, such as a cavy, were rescued and taken to animal preservation centers. Volunteer veterinarians and biologists assist the teams in managing the animals found.
The place is home to puma, maned wolf, giant armadillo, anteater, capybara, wild dog, jararaca, coral snake, toucan, seriema, pampas deer and ocelot, among other species.
According to the Environmental Military Police, the State Coordination of Operation Cut Fire and volunteer veterinarians and biologists that are in the region, other land animals and birds may have been burned to death by the fire.
See below the animals that were rescued at Juquery State Park:
Hedgehog was rescued after a fire in Juquery State Park in a video posted on the official page of the agency, but died later — Photo: Reproduction/Social networks
Charred snake in the fire at Juquery State Park, in Franco da Rocha — Photo: Publicity/State Secretariat for Infrastructure and Environment
Unidentified snake rescued after fire in Juquery State Park; she also died later — Photo: Reproduction/Social networks
The cavies are from the same family as the capybaras — Photo: Action plan for conservation/reproduction
Juquery State Park
The park was created in 1993, with the objective of conserving native forest and spring areas of the Cantareira System. In addition to the Cerrado, the 2,000-hectare park also houses remnants of the Atlantic Forest.
The main attraction is the “Ovo do Pato”, a lookout that is 942 meters high. From there, it is possible to see the seriema, a typical Cerrado bird that is the symbol of the park.
The park’s name was given in honor of a plant that the indigenous people found in abundance on the banks of rivers: the Yu-Kery, from which they extracted salt to season food.
VIDEO: Images show smoke in the Juquery Park region, in SP