Amazon rainforest in Brazil burning at record rate as smoke from devastating fires can be seen from space

Large swathes of the Amazon rainforest have been wiped out as more than 9,000 wildfires occurred in the region last week


                            Amazon rainforest in Brazil burning at record rate as smoke from devastating fires can be seen from space

World's biggest rainforest, the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, has been hit by devastating blows after a record number of fires have continued to ravage it for days.

The growing blaze has become so massive that it can now be seen from space with NASA and other space agencies sharing pictures of the smoke-covered region. 

According to the data collected by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), large swathes of the Amazon rainforest have been wiped out as more than 9,000 wildfires occurred in the region last week.

 

Despite the alarming pictures and data, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed climate concerns citing that farmers in the area have been using fire to clear land for the winter. 

Climatempo meteorologist, Josélia Pegorim, while talking to Globo said: "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."

Smoke from the Amazon forest fire seen from the space. (Photos courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory)

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus on Wednesday tweeted: "Smoke from the fires currently burning in the Amazon rainforest is covering about half of Brazil. We are in a climate emergency."

Multiple climate activists and conservationists have slammed the Brazilian president for encouraging loggers and farmers to clear the land, with several citing data from INPE.

Bolsonaro, however, has brushed the data aside, saying it is the "season of the queimada", when farmers use fire to clear land to farm.

The president also accused the public of blaming him for deforestation and the fires.

"I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame," the Brazilian leader said, according to Express.

Meteorologist Alberto Setzer from INPE, while speaking to Reuters, said that the institute has recorded "nothing abnormal" about the climate in Brazil this year, suggesting that the increase in fires was likely because of human interference.



 

"There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average," Setzer said. "The dry season creates favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident."

The wildfires have reportedly spewed massive clouds of smoke which have plunged the Brazilian capital Sao Paulo into darkness.

According to INPE, annual wildfire rates in the Brazilian Amazon have only been tracked since 2013.

The region, however, has not yet reached peak wildfire season and the number of wildfires this year have already surpassed the previous record of more than 68,000 fires in 2016. 

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