Amazon Rainforest Burning At Record Rates And Is Visible From Space
Wildfires roaring in Brazil's Amazon are now so ferocious that they have surged a whopping 83 per cent since last year, and can be seen from miles above earth, The National Institute for Space research, INPE, have revealed.
In the last week, the institute spotted 9,509 new forest fires, mostly in the Amazon basin.
Smoke from the fires even caused an hour-long blackout more than 2,000 miles away in Sao Paulo on Monday (19th August) as strong winds swept it over to the country's largest city.
So yeah, that's worrying...
It comes after the state of Amazonas was forced to declare a state of emergency recently, because things had got so bad.
INPE report there have been more than 72,000 fires between January and August, a figure we haven't seen the likes of since 2013.
To make a shocking comparison, the same period of 2018 saw just 40,000 fires.
The rainforest, which is the world's largest tropical forest, very rarely burns on its own, making the vast fires even more concerning.
Wildfires usually start due to unprecedented warmth and dryness, as we've seen across the world this year as a result of global warming.
But they're also frequently believed to be started on purpose by individuals who want the land for themselves, such as loggers and farmers.
Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has already come under fire of late for allowing the land to be deforested at the rate it currently is.
Environmentalists have criticised the president for encouraging the clearing of the land, with scientists claiming the rainforest has decreased more rapidly than normal since he took office at the start of the year.
Ricardo Mello, the head of the Amazon Programme for the World Wide Fund for Nature, told Reuters that the escalated fires are "a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures".
Meanwhile, INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters: "There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average.
"The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident."
NASA have since claimed that while fires have increased in Amazonas and Rondonia, they've actually decreased in the states of Para and Mato Grosso.
Although, if full on cities are still filling with smoke then we've probably still got a long way to go.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock