Friday, September 06, 2019

Bolsonaro's Amazon Fires

Buzzfeed has mapped out all of the wildfires that burned in the Amazon during August of this year. The Amazon has witnessed more than 90,000 fires so far in 2019, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Buzzfeed has used data from NASA to show where these fires were burning in the Amazon during each day of August.

If you use the timeline control on Buzzfeed's We Mapped All The Fires That Burned In The Amazon In August you can view an overlay visualizing each day's wildfires. NASA says there were 66,000 fires last month across the whole of the Amazon. Over recent years the number of fires in the Amazon had begun to fall. However since the election of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, farmers have been encouraged to clear trees for livestock, cultivation, and development. The result is that the rainforest is burning once again.

In truth much of the Amazon has remained unaffected by the fires. The Washington Post shows this in their article Maps of the Amazon Fires Shows We Are Thinking About Them Wrong. The Post has used NASA's data to map where fires have burned over the last first years.

The map reveals that most of the fires occur on the edge of the rainforest. The reason for this is that is where flash and burn is used to clear trees to expand agriculture. Since Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil environmental protection of the rainforest has been weakened. The environmental protection agency has had its funding slashed by 24 percent, employees have been fired and a new department has been created just to help reduce and stop fines for environmental crimes.

The result is that this year the number of fires in the Amazon has increased by a huge amount compared to the last few years.

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