Published On: Wed, Aug 21st, 2019

Brazil weather: Amazon rainforest fires to get WORSE as 40c scorcher fans flames this week | World | News

The Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest and seen as a vital carbon store that slows the rate of global warming, has suffered a record number of fires this year. Nearly 73,000 fires have been recorded, a surge of 83 percent over the same period in 2018, according to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Since Thursday, INPE satellites spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone and according to the latest weather forecast the raging infernos are set to grow even further.

Scorching temperatures are set to continue into the weekend over much of Brazil, according to

Temperatures could soar as high as 40C, which could accelerate the existing wildfires and cause further disruption to the basin which spans a huge 5.5 million km2.

The vast forest is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

The scale of the fires has led to Amazonas declaring a state of emergency on Monday after three weeks of particularly severe fires plagued the country.

The savage fires continue to rage and caused havoc in Brazil’s largest city Sāo Paulo yesterday, some 1,700 miles away from the centre of the blaze.

Strong winds brought in plumes of black smoke from the wildfires, causing a daytime blackout in the city.

Sāo Paulo was blackened for around an hour on Monday as the smoke filled the city.

Gianvitor Dias, a resident in the city told the BBC: “It was as if the day had turned into night.

“Everyone here commented because even on rainy days it doesn’t usually get that dark. It was very impressive.”

JUST IN: Terrifying footage shows Amazon inferno swallow a railway track

The significant increase of fires this year has been blamed on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who came into office on January 1.

His policies have favoured developing the Amazon region for farming and mining, rather than prioritising conservation.

The Brazilian President has also brushed off claims made by INPE and suggested they had “made up” the figures.

The space agency said the large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.

Researcher Alberto Setzer said: “There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average.

“The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”

But Mr Bolsonaro said it was the time of the year of the “queimada” or burn, when farmers use fire to clear land.

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