SATELLITE images released by NASA show the horrifying extent of the wildfires currently raging across the Amazon rain forest.
In one image, captured at night from space, the fires themselves are clearly visible, with huge patches of orange spread across Brazil and neighbouring Bolivia.
In one image, captured at night, the fires are clearly visible from space[/caption]
Satellite images show the horrifying extent of the fire in the Amazon rain forest[/caption]
Another picture shows thick grey smoke covering large parts of the South American land mass.
The images come as the Brazilian government announces that 44,000 troops will be made available to tackle the blazes.
Recent months have seen record-breaking fires sweep through the world’s largest rain forest.
Since the start of the year, there have been more than 75,000 fires across Brazil, 40,000 in the Amazon alone, with the fire season only now reaching its midpoint.
NASA data has confirmed that 2019 has been the “most active fire year” since 2010.
The fires have sparked international concern, with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro coming under intense pressure to do more to address the fires.
CYCLE OF DEFORESTATION
The tress of the Amazon produce 20 per cent of the oxygen we breathe, and the region is often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth”.
Bolsonaro has previously voiced opposition to environmental conservation, and spoken in favour of expanding mining and industrial farming in the Amazon and other protected areas.
Another NASA image shows the huge patches of forest left bare by the fires, while monitoring groups have warned that deforestation in the Amazon has risen 20 per cent this year.
Speaking to National Geographic, ecologist Thomas Lovejoy described a cycle in which deforestation fuels forest loss, which makes the region drier, which increases the number of fires, which further fuels deforestation.
Much of the rain in the Amazon is also generated by the rain forest itself, so as trees disappear, rainfall declines.
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“This is without any question one of only two times that there have been fires like this” in the Amazon, Thomas Lovejoy said.
“There’s no question that it’s a consequence of the recent uptick in deforestation.”
Zoomed images show the land cleared by the fires[/caption]
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