Recent photos from São Paulo, Brazil of the sky turning ashen grey in the middle of the afternoon has sought to highlight the destructive fires currently ravaging the Amazon Rainforest.
While the viral images have undoubtedly helped raise awareness about the ongoing fires in the Amazon, some meteorologists believe the incidents in São Paulo may actually be coming from fires and smoke in Paraguay (which is closer than the Amazon region). Regardless, according to the BBC:
The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018. It comes weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of the agency amid rows over its deforestation data.
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. It is also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people. [source]
INPE said it had detected more than 74,000 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.