Amazon Rainforest fire
- Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - the most intense blazes for almost a decade.
- The rainforest, which contributes almost 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen, has been burning for over 16 days resulting in a major loss of trees and biodiversity.
- It will get completely burned out if it is not put out soon.
- The northern states of Roraima, Acre, Rondônia and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected.
- Mostly caused by farmers clearing land, the fires have thrown the spotlight on Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies and anti-environment stance.
- Started in the Amazonian rainforests, the fires have impacted populated areas in the north, such as the states of Rondônia and Acre, blocking sunlight and enveloping the region in smoke.
- The smoke has wafted thousands of miles to the Atlantic coast and São Paulo, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
- Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has reported that forest fires in the region have doubled since 2013, and increased by 84% compared to the same period last year.
- This year alone there have been 72,843 fires, it said, and more than 9,500 of those have happened over the past few days.
How big is the fire?
- Images, from National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 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 Aug 16 due to the fires.
- Wildfires have increased in Mato Grosso and Para, two states where Brazil's agricultural frontier has pushed into the Amazon basin and spurred deforestation.
- Greenpeace said that the wildfires were so intense that smoke loomed over the city of Sao Paulo, more than a thousand miles away.
- Wildfires are common in the dry season but are also deliberately set by farmers illegally deforesting land for cattle ranching.
- The unprecedented surge in wildfires has occurred since Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, took office in January vowing to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation.
- Space agency INPE, however, said a large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.
- People frequently blame the dry season for the wildfires in the Amazon, but that is not quite accurate, he said.
Amazon Rainforest: About
- The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest on Earth.
- The rainforest creates 20 percent of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.
- The rainforest is home to 40 percent of the worlds tropical forest and holds 20 percent of the worlds freshwater supply.
- It is also home to 10 percent of the world’s species and 40,000 plant species and around 3000 varieties of edible fruits.
- Further, the Amazon rainforest is also the natural habitat of 430 species of mammals and millions of insect species.
- Amazon is an important repository of carbon and water. Deforestation disrupts the water cycle by allowing water to runoff directly to rivers rather than being trapped in soil and vegetation and slowly released throughout the year.
- This makes the forest more vulnerable to drought and the further loss of trees and release of global warming pollution.