Amazon Burning: Fires Are Raging At A Record Rate In Brazil's Amazon Rainforest
Amazon rainforest fire: The smoke from the fires can be seen from space (Image: NASA)
Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, new space agency data suggests.Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change, but how did the fire start and how long has it been on fire?

Fires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have hit a record high number this year with smoke being seen from space. , the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. The space agency reports its satellite data has detected more than 72,000 fires since January 2019, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said on Monday.

Brazil’s Amazon basin is home to the largest tropical forest in the world, and a wealth of animal species – from insects to giant cats and is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere.It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people. Roughly half the size of the US, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.

The heavy smoke caused a daytime blackout more than 1,700 miles away in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo on Monday.Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin, The forest’s carbon store is vital to the process of slowing down the pace of global warming, as trees pull in more carbon dioxide than they put back into the atmosphere, according to a study undertaken by NASA in 2014.

Josélia Pegorim, Climatempo meteorologist, told Globo: “The smoke did not come from fires from the state of São Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been going on for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia.

“The cold front changed the direction of the winds and transported this smoke to São Paulo.”

The state of Amazonas has declared an emergency. Images showed the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires.The #PrayforAmazonia tag has surged on social media as users blamed darkened skies above São Paulo on the fires, though some meteorologists said the low clouds were a normal weather phenomenon.

Dramatic images and videos on social media show giant plumes of smoke rising from the greenery, and lines of fire leaving blackened waste in their wake.Conservationists have blamed Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro for the Amazon’s plight, they accuse him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and encouraging deforestation, and scientists say the rainforest has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since he took office in January.

The European Union’s satellite program, Copernicus, released a map showing smoke from the fires spreading all along Brazil to the east Atlantic coast. The smoke has covered almost half the entire country, and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Why are there fires in the Amazon Rainforest? How did the fires start?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but this year has been worse than normal, according to INPE. In addition, fires are deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.

The space agency said it had detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since records began in 2013. And more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.

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