Oyku Cicek Butun Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Some 73,000 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year—making it the highest number of any since 2013, according to the nation’s space agency, INPE. This is almost almost almost double that of the 40,000 fires recorded in 2018.
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is on fire and is said by international sources to be the result of the largely neglected concept, climate change. The fires plaguing the amazon reoccur every year, yet surprisingly, 2019 is not the year with the largest amount of recorded fires.
In fact, 2000 to 2005 were by far the years with the highest number of flames tearing down the very fabric of the rainforest. So why has this environmental disaster been made into such a big deal this year?
The fire itself can be caused by naturally by lightning strikes and are common during the dry season. However, the amazonian fires in 2019 were reportedly caused by farmers, to improve crop efficiency.
So the question remains, why are these fires so significant?
Well the answer is not one that would immediately come to mind. One reason for concern as shown by the international media is that the amazonian fires are far more consistent than land clearing (done by farmers) or natural drought.
In addition to the environmental aspect, politically, Brazilain president Jair Bolsonaro who does not agree with the environmentalists and has been pushing tree clearing acts since January 2019. Unsurprisingly, since Bolsonaro came to power, deforestation has increased, with the president claiming that he can do as he wishes to the Amazon Rainforest.
While expressing little concern for the forest, Bolsonaro openly stated that he wants to open the forest to mining and agriculture. These words further strengthen the accusation that he was and is responsible for the fires.