The rainforests of the Amazon in Brazil are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center began monitoring in 2013.
Until August 20, the National Space Research Institute (Inpe) reported a total of 72,843 fires in Brazil, representing an increase of more than 80% compared to the same period of 2018.
Of the total, 52.5% were located in the Amazon region.
More than two thirds of the Amazon are in Brazil and environmental groups blame the government of President Jair Bolsonaro for the increase in deforestation because, they say, he has relaxed controls in the country. Just a few weeks ago, the head of the Inpe was fired after an argument with Bolsonaro about deforestation data.
The Amazon is known as the lungs of the planet, as it produces 20 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is considered vital in current efforts to curb global warming and also hosts countless species of flora and fauna. With approximately half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.
Copernicus, the Earth Observation program of the European Union, published a map showing the smoke from the fires that reach the Atlantic coast of Brazil.
Environmental groups have been campaigning for a long time to save the Amazon, blaming Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, for endangering the vital rainforest. Bolsonaro said the recent wave of fires in the Amazon may have been caused by non-governmental organizations.
With information from CNN.