Amazon fires burn vast tracts of forest
There has been little media focus on the phenomenon, though the fires have been burning for some three weeks now.
More than 50 percent of the world's rainforests are in the Amazon basin. Now, these forests are under threat. There have been over 70,000 wildfires in the Amazon rainforest in 2019 alone. This is up 83 percent over the same period in 2018. The Amazon forest fires have been on record since 2013, and this year has seen the largest number of fires.
Brazil's Space Research Centre collects satellite images of the Amazon. These pictures show wildfires raging in the Amazon basin, which are visible from space.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio posted his views on the Amazon wildfires on Instagram.
A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on Aug 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm PDT
Such fires are a concern because the Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It plays an important role in combating global warming.
What does Brazil say?
A large part of the Amazon forest lies within Brazil (60%). Wildfires have increased in the states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Mato Grosso and Para.
Although wildfires occur naturally and are common in the dry season, farmers also contribute to it by illegally setting fire to the forest for livestock grazing.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy has been widely criticised. He promised to develop the Amazon region for agriculture and mining; wildfires have increased since he took office in January 2019.
[Autotranslated from Tamil]