Wildfires plaguing the Amazon rain forest in Brazil have shown no signs of subsiding. Fires this year have been more numerous than any year since 2013 and there has been an 85% increase over last year’s number alone. They have been raging for three weeks.
July and August mark the beginning of the dry season in what is typically the wet and humid climate of the rainforest. These are usually the region’s driest months. While a definitive cause has not been ascertained, fires are usually used to clear land in the rain forest for farming or ranching. For that reason, most believe the fires are caused by humans.
There are more than 2,500 fires currently burning in the rainforest and the smoke is visible from space, according to NASA. Satellite images show fires burning in Brazil’s Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso regions.
The fires have garnered concern from the international community. Known as the “lungs of the planet,” the Amazon produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity.
President Donald Trump spoke with Brazil’s leader, Jair Bolsonaro, and offered America’s aid. “I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist,” the President wrote on Twitter last week.
Photo by NASA