Brazil’s largest city plunged in the darkness, black clouds filling the sky; blanketing San Paulo which is more than 2000 km south of the burn area. Fires are raging at a record rate and engulfing large swaths in the Amazon rainforest. It could strike a savage blow to the fight against climate change warned by the scientists! The scope of the fires is massive and the smoke is travelling far and wide and has covered most of the northern half of Brazil which is larger than the whole of Europe.
When did the fires in Amazon start?
Unfortunately, there are innumerable fires in the Amazon rainforest which make it arduous to say exactly when this flare-up started. Having said that, the fires have increased recently, with more than 9,500 infernos since Thursday, August 15, according to INPE (Brazil's National Institute for Space Research).
Importance of Amazon
Amazon plays a vital role in the fight against global warming due to its astounding ability to absorb carbon from the air. On top of that, Amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to more than 3 million species of plants and animals. The Amazon rainforest often called the lungs of planet Earth now filled with smoke and fire and choking one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems.
Reasons for the fire in the Amazon
Fires in the Amazon are a natural occurrence often started by lightning strikes but that does not explain the sudden increase in fires this year which environmentalists say has been exacerbated by human work, either deliberately or by accident. Fire is commonly used in the Amazon as a technique to clear land for cattle ranches, soy plantations/farmers or other uses which clear the forest at an increased pace. Moreover, the dry season also creates favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire.
Damage to the environment
When fires burn in the Amazon, the area is so large that there is nothing firefighters can do. Environmentalists say that damage has been done here is too much and most of it is permanently wasted in the sense that it takes ages to regrow forests and it can never be regrown in an original way.
Image source: indiatimes.com
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