The Amazon: paradise on Earth to blazing inferno
The world's largest rain forest is seriously under threat
Brazil's Amazon rain forest has seen a record number of fires in 2019, according to new satellite data released by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This represents an 83% increase on the same period in 2018.
Wildfires are common in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching, notes the BBC. INPE said it had detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August—the highest number since records began in 2013. And according to Copernicus EU—The European Union’s Earth Observation Program— smoke from wildfires burning in the Amazon reached the Atlantic coast and São Paulo.
The new figures confirm fears of scientists and environmental activists who warn that farming, mining, and Amazon infrastructure projects, coupled with changes to Brazil's long-standing environmental policies, are reversing progress made against deforestation.
Browse the gallery for an alarming look at what's happening to the Amazon rain forest.
LIFESTYLE Animal kingdom
CELEBRITY Celebrity deaths
HEALTH Middle age