Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2019

Amazon rainforest fire: Blaze ’emergency’ nearing ‘tipping point’ | World | News

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, with smoke believed to have travelled thousands of miles to disrupt nearby cities. Shocking videos have revealed the horrific extent of the blaze which is continuing to ravage the region, destroying huge areas of land. Speaking to Sky News, Mike Barrett, the Science and Conservation director at WWF, warned about the consequences of the inferno, and claimed the fire “emergency” was pushing the delicate eco-system towards the “tipping point”.

He said: “The Amazon is the lungs of the planet. We have seen 70,000 fires in Brazil, just this year.

“That is double what we saw last year. We have seen 1,000 square kilometres of fire just this month which is the equivalent to the size of an English county.

“We have seen smoke from the fires blacking out Sao Paulo earlier this week, despite the fact it is 3,000 kilometres away, to give you an idea of the scale of what is going on.

“What we are seeing here, these fires, this is just a symptom of what is a broader assault on the Amazon.

“It is absolutely tragic because we are seeing decades of progress towards tackling deforestation in the Amazon, and we are seeing this unravelling at a really alarming speed.”

READ MORE: Amazon fires: Terrifying NASA satellite images reveal inferno

He added: “This matters for a number of reasons. This matters at a local scale, because the first victims of this deforestation are usually the local communities and the indigenous peoples who are displaced from that land.

“It matters at a planetary scale. Because if we lose the Amazon, there is almost no way we can achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“We cannot avoid dangerous climate change if the Amazon is gone.

“We know we have already lost 20 percent of the Amazon. Scientists are telling us if we lose just under five percent the Amazon reaches a tipping point, it has had it.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the government lacks the resources to fight wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were “a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures”.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted: “Smoke from the fires currently burning in the Amazon rainforest is covering about half of Brazil. We are in a climate emergency.”

The fires in the Amazon rainforest appear to have increased recently with a reported 9,500 fires since last Thursday.

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