Brazil Reports Record Breaking Wildfires In Amazon Rainforest

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Amazon Rainforest of Amazonas state in Brazil is battling a massive wildfire. Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record-breaking mark in 2019.

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

Amazon Rainforest of Amazonas state in Brazil is battling a massive wildfire. According to reports, wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year. Over 72,843 fires have been detected so far by Brazil's space research center INPE. Concerns have been growing over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy. According to the agency, the surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018.

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The agency said on Tuesday that this is the highest since records began in 2013. Since Thursday, INPE said satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country. Most of them have occurred in Brazil's Amazon basin. Brazil is home to the world's largest tropical forest seen as vital to countering global warming.

Images show the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke. Amazonas declared an emergency in the south of the state and in its capital Manaus on Aug 9. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires.

Here are some tweets showing the devastating destruction in the Amazonas:

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Wildfires have increased in Mato Grosso and Para. The two states where Brazil's agricultural frontier has pushed into the Amazon basin and spurred deforestation. Wildfires are common in the dry season. Even so, fires are deliberately set by farmers illegally deforesting land for cattle ranching.

The unprecedented surge in wildfires has occurred since Bolsonaro took office in January. Bolsonaro vowed to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation. When asked about the spread of uncontrolled fires, Bolsonaro brushed off criticism, saying it was the time of the year of the "queimada" or burn, when farmers use fire to clear land. Space agency INPE, however, said a large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.

"I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada," he told reporters.

"There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average," said INPE researcher Alberto Setzer.

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People frequently blame the dry season for the wildfires in the Amazon, but that is not quite accurate, he said.

"The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident," Setzer said.

Bolsonaro recently fired the director of INPE after he criticized agency statistics showing an increase in deforestation in Brazil, saying they were inaccurate. "I am waiting for the next set of numbers, that will not be made up numbers. If they are alarming, I will take notice of them in front of you," he told reporters.

(With PTI Inputs) 

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