Complete Story of Amazon rainforest fire: When, why and how Amazon Rain Forest catched fire

Amazon rainforest, popularly known as the lungs of the world’s are facing one of the biggest threats. The largest rain forest of the world is at the risk of getting burnt out completely. The rainforest, which holds almost 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen, has been burning like never before. The fire that refuses to die down even after 16 days is posing a major threat to the ecosystem. The draconian fire has resulted in a major loss of vegetation and biodiversity.  The Amazon rainforests might become a thing of past if the fire is not controlled.

The impact of fire in amazon rainforest can already be seen in different regions in South America. Sao Paulo, the largest city of Brazil’s witnessed shrouding darkness around 3 pm on Monday. A thick, dark smoke cover enveloped the city and the rain that poured down smelled like smoke. We must tell you that Sao Paulo is located about thousands of kilometers away from the burning forests.

Fires are common at this time, but this one is huge

In 2019 alone, The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded more than 74,000 fires. This means a huge 84 percent hike as compared to the same timelines in 2018. It’s the highest number of fires since the record was maintained in 2013.

In comparison to the 40,136 fires in the region last year. 2016 was the second-worst year with 68,484 fires.

How does Amazon Rainforest Fire look from space

Cause of Amazon Rainforest Fire

Forest fires in Amazon rainforests are not new during this time of the year. This is a dry season in the southern Amazon and is a catalyst for forest fires. However, this year has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of fires with an increase in their intensity. The alarming fact is that the fires have increased at a time when there is a huge increase in the rates of deforestation in Brazilian Amazon forests.

According to environmentalists, there is no denying that this time of the year is a dry season and fires can be caught easily. But, 99 percent of the forest fires result due to human actions, either by accident or deliberately. Farmers and ranchers sometimes use fire illegally to clear the land for ranching and farming utilization. This year’s fires also fit perfectly into the established seasonal theory and agricultural pattern. This time is the most favorable to burn because the vegetation is already dry. Farmers generally wait for the dry season to start the fire in order to clear the forest areas so that their cattle can graze. This time is still not the peak of the dry season. The peak is yet to come in September.

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Environmentalists blame Brazilian President for the Amazon Fire

The environmentalists are also blaming Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his ant environmental stance and the forest fires. During his presidential election campaign, Bolsonaro had promised to bring Brazil’s economy on track. He also intended to explore the Amazon rainforests to the fullest potential. As per environmentalists, Bolsonaro has encouraged the farmers and ranchers to exploit and burn the rainforest. This might be the reason that a larger number of people initiated these fires and it became uncontrolled. Earlier too, Bolsonaro was criticized for his ideas that encouraged deforestation in the region.

The UN Secretary-General also expressed deep concern over the blazing fire in the Amazon.

The impact of Amazon Rainforest Fire on the ecosystem

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest continue to burn at an uncontrolled pace. This has been the highest rate of burning the forests. There are around 72,843 fires in Brazil in 2019, more than half of which occurred in the Amazon rainforest itself. This shows a huge 84 percent surge in the number of fires during the same period in 2018.

amazon rainforest
Amazon rainforest. Image Credits: Down to Earth

According to scientists, the Amazon rainforest fire could be a huge blow to the fight against global warming and climate change. The fire will not only result in a major loss of trees and biodiversity but will also release CO2 in huge amounts into the atmosphere.  The forest fires will also release pollutants like the suspended particulate matter, ash and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other non-organic compounds into the atmosphere. The loss of a huge number of wild animals, birds and insects particularly those that are not found elsewhere can not be predicted at the moment.

Amazon rainforests are the planet’s lungs as they account for approximately 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen. Therefore, their role is substantial to slow down global warming. The rainforest is currently home to a very huge number of species of fauna and flora. While the immediate impact of the fire would be changed in the heating of the regional atmosphere, in the long term it is expected to lead to a potential decline in natural carbon.

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Bolivia orders world’s largest air tanker to put out the Amazon rainforest fire

Bolivia has roped in its Boeing 747 ‘Supertanker’ to help put off the Amazon rainforest fire. The supertanker is expected to start the operations from August 23. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales made the announcement on August 21, 2019. The Boeing 747 ‘Supertanker’ has the highest water carrying capacity than any other aircraft in the world.

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Garima Tomar

Senior Software Development Analyst at an IT firm

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