Fires in Brazil’s Amazon have devastating consequences

(Mongabay News, 6 Sep 2019) The increase in the number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon this year compared to last year is unprecedented, figures from different organizations show.

  • According to Brazil’s space agency, INPE, the number of fires between Jan. 1 and Aug. 20 of this year is up 85 percent from the same period last year.
  • It will take from decades to centuries for the forests to recover, and the impact on wildlife specifically is uncertain.
  • What’s clear, though, is that the region’s hydrological and climatic status will change drastically if the situation continues to worsen.

A dense layer of pollution has plagued the Brazilian cities of São Paulo, Manaus and Cuiabá for days on end, rolling in from the large number of fires burning mainly in the southern Amazon.

The country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) revealed that this year has seen the most fires since measurements began in 2012. The institute recorded 74,155 fires between Jan. 1 and Aug. 20, 2019, an increase of 85 percent compared with the same period last year. The states most affected are Mato Grosso, with 14,000 fires, Pará (9,818), Amazonas (7,150), Tocantins (5,776) and Rondônia (5,604).

Experts consulted by Mongabay Latam say that what is happening in Brazil is very serious and exceeds all forecasts, especially in a year that is not particularly atypical in terms of extreme weather events such as droughts. “This situation has been caused by humans who wanted to take advantage of the Amazon at any cost and it has got out of hand like never before,” said Dolors Armenteras, a biologist and professor at the National University of Colombia who has studied hotspots and fires in the Amazon biome for several years.

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Mongabay News, 6 Sep 2019: Fires in Brazil’s Amazon have devastating consequences