The world gets the news of one of them and most probably the large forest fire in the world, 3 weeks after it’s inception. 72,843 fires have been detected in the Amazon forest by Brazil’s space research centre INPE. The fire is generating so generating an abundant amount of smoke, which can even be seen from the space.
INPE satellite has taken about 9507 images of multiple forest fires taking place in the amazon rain forest. Amazon is the world’s largest tropical forest. It is considered significant in mitigating global warming and increasing CO2 levels on the earth.
However, it is reported that deforestation in the amazon rain forest has increased by approximately 20% in the last 9 months and broadly 83% over the past few years. This is terrifying as it raises the question on the environmental policy of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
As reported by BBC, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo went dark on Monday afternoon after the powerful winds covered the city in smoke. The smoke erupted from blazing fires in the northernmost Brazilian states of Rondônia and Amazonas. The said areas along with Acre and Peru have been put on high environmental alert since the past week due to the fires.
Gianvitor Dias, a resident told BBC “It was as if the day had turned into night, everyone here commented because even on rainy days it doesn’t usually get that dark.”
The rate of forest fires in the Amazon forest, specifically in the Brazilian basin has escalated since Bolsonaro took office in January. On becoming president, he swore to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining while ignoring international concern over increased deforestation. Although wildfires are common in the dry season many times, the fires are deliberately started by farmers to deforest the land area and use it for cattle ranching. This is illegal.
The wildfires have increased over the past years, more specifically in Mato Grosso and Para areas. The two states are at Brazil’s agricultural frontier and have pushed agriculture into the Amazon basin. This has been one of the biggest reasons for deforestation.
On being asked by President Bolsonaro, he excused the situation by saying that it is the time of the year when the farmers use fire to clear their land for fresh crops. Some officials have also blamed that these fires are the reason for the dry season. However as explained by Space agency INPE, such a large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena.
“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” said INPE researcher Alberto Setzer. “The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident,” he added.
The news also comes that President Bolsonaro fired INPE director after he expressed criticism on agency statistics about increasing deforestation in Brazil.
The amazon rain forest plays a vital role in mitigating the escalating average temperature of the planet. It is the biggest forest cover and consumes about 40 to 60% of world’s CO@ emissions. If deforestation rates keep increasing, then the rate of global warming will increase by uncontrollable rates. The world’s government needs to undertake the responsibility of revitalizing the global forest covers.