Infernos blaze on in the Amazon

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Infernos blaze on in the Amazon

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The Amazon rainforest is burning at an alarming rate: the highest on record since 2013 and an 83% increase from last year.  Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region.  Harmful blazes have been reported in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso whose forests generate 20% of the world’s oxygen and 10% of the world’s known biodiversity.  So far this year, almost 73,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s space research center, according to INPE.  

    July and August, the onset of the dry season, are the region’s driest months that have also contributed to the region’s large scale infernos.  Satellites positioned by the EU and NASA have released images to the public via social media that show significant amounts of smoke over Amazonas to provide a visual as to the long term damage projected to take place.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said publicly that he believes the fires were set by non-governmental organizations in retaliation to funding cuts.  According to the BBC, Bolsonaro didn’t provide any evidence for his claims and then later said he never accused any groups.  While fire in these Brazilian states primarily holds the purpose of clearing land for ranching and farming, humans are responsible for the vast majority of these fires.  

“It’s crazy to think that these fires have been going on for a long period of time and we are only finding out about it once it has escalated like this,” said junior Sofi Reyes.

Scientists have reported that the fires are still active currently although there have been reports of scattered thunderstorms.  It is unclear if any helped to extinguish the fires, although politicians are getting involved to support the military effort by the Brazilian government to channel the flames away from the Central Amazonas Military Base.  Political leaders in Bolivia, Venezuela, and the United States have all corresponded with Bolsonaro and expressed that their efforts and resources are at the ready to assist if needed.

“The burning of the Amazon rainforest is a huge concern for not only the people of Brazil and South America, but for everyone on the planet. It is an important habitat for diverse plants and animals as well as vital to the replenishment of oxygen in our atmosphere,” said physics teacher Shirley Dias.

Environmentalists and concerned societies globally have also sparked an online effort to help support their governments send resources to the Amazon region and the Brazilian government.  Twitter has become the designated global platform to send comments of support and funds through organizations such as “change.org” to further help fight against these devastating forest fires.

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