Amazon fires: Brazilian rainforest burning at record rate, space agency warns – BBC News

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, according to new data from the country’s space research agency.

The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said its satellite data showed an 83% increase on the same period in 2018.

It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data.

Smoke from the fires caused a blackout in the city of Sao Paulo on Monday.

The daytime blackout, which lasted for about an hour, came after strong winds brought in smoke from forest fires burning in the states of Amazonas and Rondonia, more than 2,700km (1,700 miles) away.

Conservationists have blamed Mr Bolsonaro, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.

Why are there fires in the Amazon?

Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since records began in 2013. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.

The satellite images showed Brazil’s most northern state, Roraima, covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency over the fires.

…(read more).

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