The rich, lush and green Amazon rainforest that has been referred to as the world’s largest tropical rainforest has been raging in the fire for the last two months. It is known that the rainforest has been raging in flames since 2013 at the highest rate. This largest rainforest is nearly the size of two-thirds of the US, covering eight countries and 40% of South America.
The Amazon rainforest is the home to a large number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. This forest marks the existence of its unique species of organisms found only in that area. This rainforest is known as ‘the planet’s lungs’ since it produces 20% of Earth’s oxygen.
This conflagration has been declared as the state of emergency since the fires have taken a surge by 85% since 2013 and the major area observed to be effected is Brazil. So far 80,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s space research centre, INPE. The organisation mentioned that huge smoke of the burning forest could be seen from the space that is released by the International Space Station.
What steps have been taken?
The growing haze of the smoke grabbed attention worldwide when various social media users rallied around trending hashtags. Several protests demanding action to counter the problem led the foreign leaders to frame a plan to put out the fires.
This global outcry over the destruction of a crucial resource pushed president Jair Bolsonaro to deploy Brazil’s armed forces to help combat flaring fires. The armed forces have seamlessly been dumping water on the blazes with the help of warplanes.
Bolivia President Evo Morales sent a Boeing 747 ‘supertanker’ to help extinguish fires which are capable of flying with 115,000 litres of water operationally.
How did the fire occur?
The burning tracts of Amazon got its spark from the continuous deforestation occurring this year. The farmers and cattle ranchers have been burning and clearing the area to create dry vegetation for the cattle to graze. The researchers believe that the fires have been lit by human action majorly by agricultural practices and projects stoked by Bolsonaro’s encouragement. Whereas, Bolsonaro mentioned that the fires were set by NGOs in retaliation to cutting funds. The evidence has not yet been provided for such a statement.
How is this leading to a massive change in the climate?
In one of the releases, Greenpeace mentioned that the forest fires and climate change operate in a vicious circle. This large emblazing fire will increase the greenhouse gasses emission in the environment too which is the reason why this year’s temperature rise has been the maximum. This catastrophe has the innate ability to drive droughts in certain regions creating extreme weather changes.
The deforestations have brought in the change in the rainfall patterns in the affected area affecting the forest, biodiversity, agriculture and human health menacingly. These fires contribute to an increasing amount of carbon monoxide that has spread across the northwest region.
However, a patchy rain is expected to bring a tad bit relief in the area but it still cannot extinguish the entire fire.