Nonprofit backed by Leonardo DiCaprio dedicates $5M to Amazon forest fires

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A group chaired by movie star Leonardo DiCaprio is dedicating $5 million to an emergency fund for the Amazon forest. 

The nonprofit, Earth Alliance, announced its generous contribution Sunday, writing that the money would "focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires."

MORE: Majority of fires in Amazon caused by clearing land for cattle 


DiCaprio, who recently starred in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," has been vocal about the fires, resharing posts on Instagram from groups including the Rainforest Trust, the Rainforest Alliance and Earth Alliance. 

RELATED: Here's what we know about the fires in the Amazon rainforest

Earth Alliance said it is putting in $5 million to kick off its fundraising campaign with the hope of helping the "lungs of the planet." According to the World Wildlife Fund, the rain orests help stabilize local and global climate.

Funds raised will go to local groups including the following:

  • Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida 
  • Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon
  • Instituto Kabu 
  • Instituto Raoni 
  • Instituto Socioambiental

The Earth Alliance said deforestation is to blame for the fires.

"This means less rain and dry grasslands that, once they start burning, result in fires that are nearly impossible to control," the website explained under its "Why is this happening?" section. However, CNN reported that the fires were likely caused by farmers and cattle ranchers who have burned land to clear it for use. 

RELATED: US firefighting supertanker plane helping fight Amazon fires 

"It's the best time to burn because the vegetation is dry," CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. "(Farmers) wait for the dry season and they start burning and clearing the areas so that their cattle can graze. And that's what we're suspecting is going on down there."