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Amazon Rainforest Suffers Worst Start To Fire Season In 10 Years

Jake Massey

| Last updated 

Amazon Rainforest Suffers Worst Start To Fire Season In 10 Years

Featured Image Credit: PA

The Amazon has suffered the worst start to the fire season in a decade, with more than 10,000 fires sighted in the first 10 days of August.

The 10,136 fires spotted across the Amazon represent a 17 percent increase on the 8,669 fires registered at the same point last year, a Greenpeace data analysis has found.

This is the worst start to August in the Amazon since 2010, when 11,280 were recorded amid a severe drought.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Last month also saw fires up 28 percent on July last year. Ane Alencar, director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), fears the rainforest could be in for a 'catastrophic burning season'.

Christian Poirier, program director of Amazon Watch, believes the pandemic may be worsening the situation, with budgets and routine crime prevention both down on previous years.

He said: "Land grabbers don't work from home, illegal loggers don't work from home.

"They're out there in the midst of a pandemic still destroying these forests, still invading indigenous territories with wanton impunity and indigenous people have less ability to respond."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

However, the far-right President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has denied the spike in fires - despite the statistical and visual evidence to the contrary.

Speaking to other South American leaders on Tuesday, he said the fires were a 'lie' and challenged foreign representatives to fly over the Amazon, claiming they would not see a single flame.

According to Reuters, he said: "They won't find any spot of fire, nor a quarter of a hectare deforested.

"This story that the Amazon is going up in flames is a lie and we must combat it with true numbers."

The new data's suggestion that this year's fire season could be worse than last year's is deeply concerning, given the devastation we saw in 2019 - which was so bad there was a spike in children in Brazil being treated for respiratory problems caused by the smoke.

Forest fires do occur naturally between July and October, but many of the fires were thought to be started by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.

The 2019 fires sparked international uproar, for as the largest rainforest on the planet, the Amazon plays a vital role in storing carbon and helping to reduce the effects of emissions that accelerate climate change - hence its nickname, 'the lungs of the Earth'.

Topics: Environment, World News, Brazil

Jake Massey
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