17.9 C
Madrid
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Amazonian Wildfires Rage Across Three Countries During Historic Drought

Millions of hectares are threatened during an unprecedented dry season

Must read

Macron Warns About Crisis In Islam; Taliban Reacts

AFGHANISTAN. Herat: In the wake of the beheading of a French teacher for showing a cartoon of The Prophet Muhammad, French President...

Young Man Creates Much Needed Employment Opportunity In Mumbai Slum To Lift Women From Poverty

INDIA. Mumbai, Maharashtra: Mohan Rathod grew up in a slum community in Mumbai. He was a first-hand witness to the impact of...

Arab Countries Boycott French Products After Macron’s Islam Comments

FRANCE. Several Arab nations have announced a complete boycott of French products. The protests come days after French President Emmanuel Macron made comments...

Woman Shot Dead By A Stalker In Haryana

INDIA. Haryana: A 21-year-old woman was shot dead in Haryana on Monday. The deceased was a student of Agrawal College at Ballabgarh...
Autumn Spredemann
Autumn Spredemann
I´ve traveled the world working as a freelance journalist, blogger, and English teacher. I specialize in remote travel, obscure cultures, and politics.

BOLIVIA. Santa Cruz. Last year was one of the worst on record for Amazonian wildfires and it appears that 2020 is not shaping up to be any better. As the world´s largest forest that spans nine countries and covers an area roughly the size of the continental United States, the Amazon is no stranger to challenges. It´s home to a variety of unique ecosystems ranging from dry forest to subtropical wetlands. There are also two very distinct seasons: wet and dry. Herein lies the root of the problem behind the fires.

The dry season is also fire season in the Amazon

While everything from lackadaisical farming practices, known locally as chaqueos, to irresponsible poachers trying to escape persecution has been at the heart of these fires, it´s important to understand the real danger presents itself in the dry season. The apex of which, lasts from August to November. 

- Advertisement -

During these months, the Amazon receives much less rainfall. Seasonal rivers run dry and can become impassable to boats, leaving hundreds of villages without road access cut off from the rest of the world. Much of the flooded wetlands become grassland during this time, allowing hundreds of animals to migrate and hunt in areas that are otherwise flooded and inaccessible for the rest of the year.

This is also when wildfires pose the greatest threat to the forest and all that lives within it.

Firefighters working in the Bolivian Amazon. Photo credit: Cesar Calani Cosso

Millions of hectares are burning already

- Advertisement -

The Amazon made international news last year due to the vast amounts of Brazil and Bolivia that were on fire. A large containment response was mounted, which triggered an outpouring of international aid. However, because of the challenges posed by COVID-19 this year, the containment effort is minimal at best. This leaves hundreds of unrelenting fires burning while human and animal populations are at risk.

El Deber reports that 222 fires are burning in the Bolivian Amazon alone, while 700,000 hectares of the Pantanal wetlands are also ablaze between Brazil and Paraguay.

- Advertisement -

The Pantanal comprises the largest tropical wetland area in the world and is home to thousands of species of rare plants and animals.

Fires burning in the Pantanal wetlands. Photo credit: REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

This year marks the worst drought seen in decades

Sadly, fire season this year couldn’t have come at a worse time. Mongabay reports that water levels in the Pantanal and the Bolivian Chaco regions have hit record lows, even for the dry season. Obvious dangers aside, these extreme drought conditions also impede crisis response efforts in remote areas.

While the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the Amazon and its precious ecosystems are, by and large, on their own until the much needed rainy season arrives later this year.

More articles

1 COMMENT

Latest article

Logistics Education: Need To Strengthen The Basics Of Skill Development In The Industry

INDIA: Logistics has been my area of work for the past decade and a half and there has been a great deal...

Super Typhoon Rolly Approaches The Philippines

PHILIPPINES. Manila: Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warn the country of a possible super typhoon. The typhoon, locally known...

Abhishek Bachchan Showered With Love During The Shoot Of Ludo In Kolkata

INDIA: Anurag Basu is set to present Ludo on the occasion of Diwali this year. The film traces four different journeys as...

Protests Erupt Across Afghanistan After French Prime Minister’s Condemnation Of Islamic Linked Beheadings In France

AFGHANISTAN. Herat. Rallies held in Herat, Kabul, Takhar, and Kunduz city against Emmanuel Macron erupt today in response to the French Prime...

Former President Jeanine Añez Faces Trial For Corruption And Murder

BOLIVIA. La Paz: On Thursday, parliament approved a trial of responsibilities for transitional president Jeanine Añez and 11 of her ministers. The former...