Thousands of fires are currently destroying the Amazon rainforest. The outbreak is the worst one that has occured in nearly a decade, and has far-reaching impacts for Brazil and beyond. This year has seen a record amount of fires, and the smoke is spreading as people continue to set more areas ablaze.
There have been many fires in 2019.
Brazil, the location of over half of the Amazon rainforest, has seen a recent spike in the number of fires this year. According to the National Institute for Space Research, this year has witnessed a 76% increase on the same period last year. Within the first eight months of 2019, Brazil had over 87,000 forest fires compared to the 49,000 during that time during 2018. This year, Brazil has had the largest amount of fires in nearly a decade.
The smoke is spreading.
Smoke from the forest fires has already spread past the Amazon rainforest. Some of the smoke has even made it as far as the Atlantic coast. The fire’s carbon emissions are also spreading quickly. During this year alone, the fires have released 228 megatonnes of carbon dioxide. Then wood is burned without access to oxygen, it also produces carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous at high levels.
New fires are being started.
Even though the government has implemented a ban on burning the rainforest, nearly 2,000 fires broke out within 48 hours of the beginning of the ban. The Brazilian government has attempted to halt deforestation, but many fires have purposely been started by farmers to clear land for crops or pastures for cattle. People cut down parts of the forest, let the patch dry, and then set it on fire so the ashes can be used as fertilizer. The fires have spread quickly due to very dry conditions and very quickly become out of control.
Brazil isn’t the only country with fires.
Although the vast majority of the fires are taking place in Brazil, the country isn’t the only one suffering from forest fires. Venezuela has had 26,000 fires take place this year, and Bolivia has undergone 19,400. Bolivia has even hired a Boeing 747 supertanker from the US to help them put out the fires. The country has also accepted aid from G7 leaders.