Fires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have hit a record high this year, according to new data from the country’s space research agency, as concerns grow over President Jair Bolsonaro’s management of the environment.
Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said on Monday. The surge marks an 83 percent increase over the same period last year and is the highest since INPE records began in 2013.
Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest, seen as vital to slowing the pace of global warming.
Images showed the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency in the south of the state and in its capital Manaus over the blazes. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires.
There has been international outrage over the destruction of the Amazon.
Farnon Ellwood, from the University of West England, joins us from Bristol.