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A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) — Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The Amazon fires are choking South America — and it seems nothing much can be done

Any upcoming rainfall will likely be too weak to extinguish the large number of fires.
Published Aug 27, 2019 08:38pm

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.

A burning tract of the Amazon jungle is seen in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters
A burning tract of the Amazon jungle is seen in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters

A tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters
A tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters

White ash is seen lining the ground in a tract of the Amazon jungle cleared by loggers in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters
White ash is seen lining the ground in a tract of the Amazon jungle cleared by loggers in Canarana, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Monday. — Reuters

Smoke rises from forest fires in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP
Smoke rises from forest fires in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP

Bolivian soldiers walk at a burnt area in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP
Bolivian soldiers walk at a burnt area in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP

A tree stands amid smoke from a fire along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil's Amazon, Monday. — AP
A tree stands amid smoke from a fire along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil's Amazon, Monday. — AP

Aerial view of damage caused by wildfires in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP
Aerial view of damage caused by wildfires in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia, on Monday. — AFP

View of a burnt area after a fire in the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, on Sunday. — AFP
View of a burnt area after a fire in the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, on Sunday. — AFP

Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday. — AP
Trees are destroyed after a fire in the Alvorada da Amazonia region in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, Sunday. — AP

An aerial view of a tract of the Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, is pictured in this August 23, 2019 picture taken with a drone. — Reuters
An aerial view of a tract of the Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, is pictured in this August 23, 2019 picture taken with a drone. — Reuters


Header image: A fire burns in highway margins in the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, on Sunday. — AP