TechnologyThe Amazon rainforest is on fire: Cause, scope, and how you can help
Amazon rainforest fires: Smoke can be seen from space
Smoke from record wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest blanketed São Paulo on Monday and could be seen from space.
Officials say the Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate. Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region. So far this year, almost 73,000 fires have been detected by Brazil's space research center INPE. That marks an 83% increase from 2018 and the highest number on record since 2013, Reuters reported.
What caused the fire?
While the rainforest is typically wet and humid, July and August, the onset of the dry season, are the area's driest months, with "activity" peaking by early September and stopping by mid-November, according to NASA. The fires are largely linked to people clearing out the land for farming or ranching.
Amazon fires caused by humans, environmentalists say
The rainforest protection group Amazon Watch says farmers, emboldened by the government, intentionally set the forest ablaze
What areas are affected?
Satellite images show fires in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso. The state of Amazonas is most affected, according to Euronews.
How big is it?
You can see the smoke from space. The European Union Earth Observation Program's Sentinel satellites captured images of "significant amounts of smoke" over the Amazonas, Rondonia states and other areas.
The skies darkened over San Paulo, Brazil, for an hour Monday afternoon after winds carried smoke from about 1,700 miles away.
How has the public responded?
Social media started the hashtags #Prayfor Amazonas and #AmazonRainforest. Twitter users criticized media for giving more attention to the fire at Notre Dame and other news than to the rainforest fires. Social media users also called out billionaires for lack of donations.
Trump says he offered Bolsonaro assistance with Amazon rainforest fires
President Trump on Friday said he offered assistance Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro if needed to address wildfires that are engulfing parts of the Amazon Rainforest.Trump tweeted that U.S. has "very exciting" trade prospects with Brazil, and that the relationship between the two countries is "perhaps stronger than ever before.""I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!" Trump tweeted. Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil. Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before.
Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has also faced criticism, with people charging him with lack of action and encouraging logging and farming in the Amazon. In early July, an anonymous senior Brazilian official told the BBC Bolsonaro encouraged deforestation.
NASA has been monitoring the fires. Over the past week, the Aqua satellite and Sentinel 3 have been tweeting images of the smoke on social media.
How can I help?
It's unlikely you're one of the people who can actually help douse the blaze, but there are other ways you can aid in protecting the rainforest.
- Donate to Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.
- Donate to the Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organization has saved over 23 million acres and counting.
- Reduce your paper and wood consumption. Double-check with Rainforest Alliance that what you're buying is rainforest-safe. You can also purchase rainforest safe products here.
- The World Wide Fund for Nature works to protect the countless species in the Amazon and around the world.
- Ecosia.org is a search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches you run.
Amazon rainforest fires: How to spot inaccurate photos on social media.
Politicians and celebrities alike have mistakenly shared out-of-date or incorrect images in reference to the Amazon fires.
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