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.
The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.
There have been a total of 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That’s more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.
The Amazon is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere.
It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is also home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the US, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.
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.
The smoke has reached all the way to Sao Paolo, more than 1,700 miles away. Images from the city show the sky pitch black in the middle of the afternoon, the sky and sun blanketed by smoke and ash.
🌎Just a little alert to the world: the sky randomly turned dark today in São Paulo, and meteorologists believe it’s smoke from the fires burning *thousands* of kilometers away, in Rondônia or Paraguay. Imagine how much has to be burning to create that much smoke(!). SOS🌎 pic.twitter.com/P1DrCzQO6x
— Shannon Sims (@shannongsims) August 20, 2019
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 nearly half the entire country, and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
From the other side of Earth, here’s the latest on the Amazonia fires 🌳
Produced by @CopernicusEU’s atmosphere monitoring service, it shows the smoke reaching the Atlantic coast and São Paulo 🇧🇷
— WMO | OMM (@WMO) August 20, 2019
According to the INPE, more than one and a half soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day.
Source : Various