Aug 29, 2020

Amazon fires: Are they worse this year than before?

Preserving the Amazon rainforest is of global importance in the fight against climate change, but it is under threat from forest fires, mostly started to clear land for agriculture. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil recently said that claims the Amazon "Is going up in flames" were not true, despite statistics published by his own government showing the spread of fires. "If we consider the average number of fires in July over the period from 2010-2019, then the number of fires in July 2020 represented an increase of 55.6% of the average," says Prof Marcia Castro, a Brazilian scientist based at Harvard University. In areas around Novo Progresso in Para state, farmers reportedly held a "Day of fire" last year and satellites have picked up more than 1,300 fire alerts in the past month, according to official statistics. For Amazonian countries, mining and agriculture is driving deforestation and as a result forest fires, according to Dr Kalamandeen.

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