Satellite images show extent of Amazon rainforest fires

40,000 troops have been deployed to battle the blazes in Brazil

NASA satellites are tracking actively burning fires across South America, with the blazes being clearly visible at night (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)
NASA satellites are tracking actively burning fires across South America, with the blazes being clearly visible at night (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

Thousands of fires continue to burn in Brazil, many of them in the Amazon rainforest, pumping alarming amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

Satellite images released by NASA have revealed the devastating damage the fires have caused to the rainforest, considered to be the earth’s lungs.

The images show wildfires and plumes of smoke in the Amazon across several Brazilian states, as the crisis reaches record-breaking levels.

Over 75,000 fires have erupted in Brazil since the start of the year, an over 80% increase on last year and the highest number since record began in 2013.

(Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)
(Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

According to preliminary satellite data from Brazil's space agency, trees were being cleared at the rate of five football pitches each minute.

The latest fires have now been burning for several weeks, with the international community condemning Brazil and its president Jair Bolsonaro for the handling of the environmental crisis.

Amid national demonstrations against the government, Bolsonaro has deployed military aircraft and 40,000 troops to fight the blazes.

Bolsonaro has previously said the protection of rainforests - which absorb vast quantities of greenhouse gases and are essential for climate change control - was an obstacle to his country’s economic development.

A lot of the fires are believe to have been started by people clearing farmland in deforested areas.

The Amazon rainforest is 5.5 million sq.km and stretches across nine countries. The majority of the forest is located in Brazil, followed by Peru and Colombia, with smaller portions in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana

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