The rainforest that experiences torrential rain throughout the year has witnessed the highest number of wildfires this year—of the 72,843 that have been reported so far this year in Brazil, more than half were in the Amazonian rainforests.
Earlier this week, a wildfire in the Canary Islands, Spain, caused more than 8,000 people to flee and, the week before, Alaska witnessed serious wildfires. Around 21,000 square miles of forest faced wildfires in Siberia this month, and Denmark had to send firefighters to Greenland to tackle wildfires that were approaching inhabited areas. Even though these instances are alarming, nothing compares to the lungs of the Earth, the Amazon rainforests that produce 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, being on fire for more than two weeks now. The rainforest that experiences torrential rain throughout the year has witnessed the highest number of wildfires this year—of the 72,843 that have been reported so far this year in Brazil, more than half were in the Amazonian rainforests.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July 2019 was the hottest July ever. The global temperature is already 1.7oF above the 20th century levels, and severe droughts have occurred in Alaska and Canary islands. Widespread deforestation, illegal logging and mining have acted as catalysts in the case of Amazon’s wildfire. Jair Bolsonaro’s government has been busy rolling back crucial protections for the rainforests to facilitate mining and logging, and the forests have witnessed an 88% increase in deforestation over June 2018-June 2019, as per the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Note, INPE’s director was fired after the publication of these data, and Bolsonaro termed the findings as lies. There are allegations that the fire could be anthropogenic and, while Bolsonaro has singled out “NGOs” for “starting the fires”, the fires, if they are anthropogenic, benefit those seeking to encroach upon the forest land and exploit it. The hit to the Amazon rainforests—they absorb around 2.2 billion tons of CO2 annually—affects the entire world. If nations take no account, the heavy climatic effects of the disaster will be felt soon, by all.