Amazon fires: Brazilian rainforest burning at record rate, space agency warns

Brazilian rainforest burning at record rate Credit: Shutterstock

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country’s National Institute for space research (Inpe).

A chunk of the Amazon rainforest has been ravaged by fires for weeks — and the smoke from the infernos is so intense, it can be seen from space. Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since records began in 2013.

The blazes, which have engulfed parts of the states of Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, and Mato Grosso in Brazil, were also captured on Aug. 11 and 13 by NASA’s Aqua satellite.

Smoke from the fires caused a blackout in the city of Sao Paulo on Monday.

Conservationists have blamed President Mr Bolsonaro, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land. That the Amazon has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since the president took office in January, with policies favouring development over conservation. Mr Bolsonaro has accused Inpe’s director of lying about the scale of deforestation in the Amazon.

Inpe’s director later announced that he was being sacked amid the row with President Mr Bolsonaro.

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Cristina Hodgson

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