Fires are still raging in Amazon’s rainforest, even though Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has maintained reports the rainforest is burning are false.
A video posted by Sky News in London shows massive fires raging, with chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay reporting “whole mountains, hills, and valleys” are engulfed in smoke and “some of these fires are absolutely huge, stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.”
Bolsonaro said in August, during the Presidential Summit of the Leticia Pact for the Preservation of the Amazon, the reports must be combatted with “real numbers,” reports CNN.
However, those numbers from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, show deforestation has surged by nearly 30% since Bolsonaro took office. Most of that has been caused by both illegal logging and by fires set by loggers and developers to clear the rainforest for development or grazing land for cattle.
“These trees are gone forever,” Ramsay said. “The Brazilian government says the Amazon is not on fire but these are our pictures . . . it’s already the most deforested part of the rainforest.”
He further reported controlling the fires is almost impossible for firefighters, and the 84,000 square kilometers of land that is burning is a bit larger than Scotland.
He noted the crew observed just five firefighters and they were not actually putting the fires out, as they restart constantly.
“The real danger here is the speed of the fire,” Ramsay said. “It moves as fast as the wind.”
Environmentalists are concerned the fires are beyond control, and it could transform the rainforest into savannah grasslands that could transform the world’s ecosystem, reports CNN.
When the Amazon region is healthy, it serves as an “air conditioner” for Earth and influences rainfall patterns. But when it is burning, instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, the fires release heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In July, Bolsonaro issued a 120-day moratorium on fires in the Amazon and in the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland area, but data shows the ban was ignored.