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Amazon Rainforest Witnesses Worst August Fires in over a Decade

Government data reveals that the fires this month are already up 12.3% from August 2021

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BRAZIL: The Amazon rainforest, popularly termed the ‘Lungs of the Earth’ due to its rich tropical foliage, has witnessed some of the worst forest fires in August since 2010, government data revealed on Wednesday.

This year’s data surpasses the fiery blazes of August 2019, that gripped the world soon after President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

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National space research agency INPE registered nearly 31,513 fire alerts in the Amazon via satellite in the first 30 days of the month, making it the worst August since 2010, when fires totalled 45,018 for the full month.

Most of INPE’s Amazon fire alerts in an average year come in August and September – which is considered the burning season in the region. During this time, the rain subsides to let ranchers and farmers set deforested areas ablaze.

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Although the month has not ended yet, data reveals that the fires this month are already up 12.3% from August 2021 and roughly 20% above the average for the month in the INPE data series since 1998.

The data comes at a sensitive time ahead of an October presidential election with leading competitors using the destruction of the Amazon rainforest as a political strategy.

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The front runner of the election season, leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has vowed, as part of his election campaign, to take appropriate measures to protect the Amazon rainforest and condemned Bolsonaro for his laxity in this matter.

Similarly, environmental experts blame Bolsonaro for his reluctance to act and for withdrawing environmental protections in Brazil, making it easier for loggers and ranchers to execute illegal deforestation in the area.

Preliminary data showed that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon in the first seven months of this year totalled an area roughly seven times the size of New York City – the most for the period in at least six years.

Also Read: The Tranquil Environment of Aarey Forest Heats up


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