Photo Credit: NASA Worldview, EOSDIS
Amazon rainforest fires are filling the Brazilian sky with smoke, and NASA says the number of fires in the region this year may have set a new record. According to Brazil's space research centre INPE almost 73,000 fires have been recorded so far this year. INPE is seeing an 83 percent increase over the same period in 2018. Separately, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday suggesting green groups started the blazes.
"Although it is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low humidity it seems this year the number of fires may be record setting," NASA said on Wednesday.
In its press release, NASA notes the methodology of observation, "NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks 'right now.'"
According to a report in the National Public Radio (NPR), Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has shown little concern for the situation.
Meanwhile, images of fires purportedly devouring sections of the world's largest rainforest have gone viral on Twitter. #PrayforAmazonas is the top trending hashtag in the world on Wednesday, with more than 249,000 tweets.
"No matter how successful we are, if our Earth dies, we all die," posted one Twitter user.
Another wrote: "Send your prayers to the Amazon and to the planet, we will need it."
Some of the images, however, showed fires in the Amazon dating as far back as 1989 or even in other countries such as the United States or India, AFP's fact-check service found.
Bolsonaro, who took office in January, has repeatedly lambasted Brazil's environmental regulations as an impediment to economic development, and under his tenure environmental agencies have seen diminished staff and funding, said the report.