BRASILIA: Thousands of 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.
Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region. So far this year, almost 73,000 fires have been detected by Brazil’s space research center, INPE.
That marks an 83% increase from 2018 and the highest number on record since 2013, according to the international news agency.
While the Amazon rainforest is typically wet and humid, July and August — the onset of the dry season — are the region’s driest months, with “activity” peaking by early September and stopping by mid-November, according to NASA.Fire is often used to clear out the land for farming or ranching. For that reason, a vast majority of the fires can be attributed to humans, Christian Poirier, reported by CNN.
You can see the smoke from space. NASA captured images of forest fire plumes from space last week. Satellite images show fires in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso.
The skies darkened over San Paulo, Brazil, for an hour Monday afternoon after a cold front caused winds to shift and carry smoke from about 1,700 miles away.
Effects of damage to the Amazon go far beyond Brazil and its neighbors. The area’s rainforest generates more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and 10% of the world’s known biodiversity.
The Amazon is referred to as the “lungs of the planet” and plays a major role in regulating the climate.The world would drastically change if the rainforest were to disappear, impacting everything from farms to drinking water.
The fires are still raging, but there are reports of scattered rain and thunderstorms on Thursday.
NASA has been monitoring the fires. Over the past week, the Aqua satellite and Sentinel 3 have been tweeting images of the smoke on social media.
Social media started the hashtags #Prayfor Amazonas and #AmazonRainforest.