2019 already a record-breaking year for forest fires in the Amazon

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2019 already a record-breaking year for forest fires in the Amazon

Photo via Time Magazine

Photo via Time Magazine

AFP/Getty Images

Photo via Time Magazine

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Photo via Time Magazine

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The Amazon Rainforest has had over 72,000 forest fires this year, and most of them have humans to blame.

The Amazon is usually protective of itself in the case of forest fires because of its natural moisture and humidity, but recent droughts have led the rainforest to be more susceptible to fires. However, the dry season has been the least of the rainforest’s worries. 99% of the fires are actually caused by humans, whether that be deliberately or not.

Environmentalists blame Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil. According to CNN, Bolsonaro has been accused of letting farmers, ranches and loggers, who often clear land quickly with fire, exploit and burn the rainforest like there is no tomorrow. At this rate, it looks like there might not be!

Alberto Setzer, senior scientist for INPE, Brazil’s space research center, tells CNN that “the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year.” There have been almost 10,000 fires in this past week alone. These numbers are expected to increase even more in the next few weeks.

20% of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon, the World Wildlife Fund explains. “If it is irrevocably damaged, it could start emitting carbon instead — the major driver of climate change,” urges the WWF on CNN.

Smoke from the forest fires blew all the way across Brazil, reaching the Atlantic coast. Sao Paulo was plunged into a dark cloud of smoke at 3pm on Monday, August 19 for over an hour, according to Fox.

Christian Poirier is the program director of Amazon Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to the safety of the Amazon.“The Amazon is incredibly important for our future, for our ability to stave off the worst of climate change,” says Poirier, quoted in CNN. “This isn’t hyperbole. We’re looking at untold destruction – not just of the Amazon but for our entire planet.”