The world’s largest tropical rainforest has garnered international attention due to the record number of blazes that are ravaging through it. Fires across the Brazilian Amazon have seen a rise of 79% this year and despite attempts to subdue them, they remain largely uncontrolled.
The effects of the fires have gone beyond the forest itself as cities are now choked in smoke, causing airport closures and other delays due to low visibility as well as serious health concerns.
According to weather experts, the Amazon can expect little relief through upcoming rains as any rainfall in the future is likely to be too weak to extinguish the large number of fires currently burning down the forest. The rains that are predicted are unfortunately not concentrated in areas that need the relief.
Even human efforts to put out the fires are doing little, as the larger blazes are simply too big to be put out.
While the fires in Brazil have generated outcry, many have complained that those in the Bolivian Amazon still rage largely unchecked. According to the Friends of Nature Foundation, even the government is misrepresenting the situation as their quoted figure of 950,000 hectares burned is an undercount.
As a major absorber of carbon dioxide, the Amazon’s rainforests are seen as a critical defense against climate change and it remains to be seen what will be done in this seemingly hopeless situation.
Header image: A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, on Sunday. — AP