20°C / 22°C
  • Fri
  • 29°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 29°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 29°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 26°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 27°C
  • 9°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 17°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 23°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 28°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 28°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 32°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 31°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 29°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 18°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 17°C
  • 10°C
  • Sun
  • 19°C
  • 8°C
  • Mon
  • 25°C
  • 7°C
  • Tue
  • 25°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 16°C
  • 11°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 26°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 29°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 29°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 16°C
  • Sun
  • 30°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 29°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 29°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 33°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 32°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 24°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 19°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 9°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 9°C

Amazon burning: Brazil reports record forest fires

The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday, and is the highest since records began in 2013.

This photo obtained from Nasa shows a natural-color image of smoke and fires in several states within Brazil including Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia was collected by NOAA/Nasa's Suomi NPP using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on 20 August 2019.  Picture: AFP

BRASILIA - Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research centre INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy.

The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday, and is the highest since records began in 2013.

Since Thursday, INPE said satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country, mostly in the Amazon basin, 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 9 August. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday 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. 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 took office in January vowing to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation.

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.

“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.

Space agency INPE, however, said the large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.

“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.

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 favourable 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.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus