Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year with smoke captured on satellites from space. The blaze is also believed to have sent a massive smoke cloud to Brazil’s city, Sao Paulo, sparking a blackout more than 1,700 miles away, but some meteorologists suggest the smoke came from major fires burning in Paraguay. In the footage, the horrific extent of the blaze can be seen with the blaze engulfing the region.
According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) satellite data showed an 83 percent increase in the same period in 2018.
The space agency reports its satellite data has detected more than 72,000 fires since January 2019.
NASA has attributed the blaze to drought and human activities which are causing wildfires.
A release from the space agency said: “The intensity and frequency of droughts in turn, have been linked with increases in regional deforestation and anthropogenic climate change.”
I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused non-governmental organisations of setting wildfires in the Amazon rainforest to damage his government’s image.
When asked if he had evidence to support his claims, he said he had “no written plan,” adding “that’s not how it’s done.”
He said during a Facebook Live podcast: “Crime exists. These people are missing the money.”
Environment and climate experts rebutted the claims from the President as a “smokescreen”.
President Bolsonaro said it was the “season of the queimada”, when farmers use fire to clear land and accused the public of blaming him for deforestation and now the fires.
“I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were “a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures”.
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Meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted: “Smoke from the fires currently burning in the Amazon rainforest is covering about half of Brazil. We are in a climate emergency.”
Conservationists have blamed President Bolsonaro, claiming he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
The fires in the Amazon rainforest appear to have increased recently with 9,500 fires since Thursday.
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