The “lungs of the planet” are burning.
A chunk of the Amazon rainforest has been ravaged by fires for weeks — and the smoke from the infernos is so intense, it can be seen from space.
The fires have stemmed from unprecedented warmth and dryness across the country this year – however, the Amazon is also a result of humans cutting down the forests.
The fires raging in the Amazon now have widespread effects on the rest of Brazil. The smoke plumes from the blazes spread from the state of Amazonas to the nearby states of Pará and Mato Grosso, and even blotted out the sun in São Paulo – a city more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) away. These wildfire blazes have grown so intense that they blackened the sky above São Paulo on Monday which led to Amazonas to declare a state of emergency.
Josélia Pegorim, Climatempo meteorologist explained, “The smoke did not come from fires from the state of São Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been going on for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia. The cold front changed the direction of the winds and transported this smoke to São Paulo.”
The smoke resulting from some of these wildfires was also captured in satellite images released by NASA last week.
The Amazon has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since the president Jair Bolsonaro took office in January – instituting policies which favour development over conservation.
PrayForAmazonia is trending on Twitter, where users are slammimg the media for paying too little attention to the Amazon blazes and attempting to draw the world’s attention to the Amazon rainforest, which has been devastated for weeks by fires.