The blaze engulfing the Amazon Rainforest is said to be the most intense in a decade. Due to the smoke from the fires, the city of Sao Paulo, located nearly 270 kilometres away turned dark in the afternoon on August 20th.
This year alone 72,843 fires were detected by Brazil’s space research centre INPE. It is a surge of 83% over the same period in 2018. The wildfires are believed to be caused by human activity- felling trees for timber and agriculture.
Since 1977, the rainforest has lost 4.78 lakh sq.km of forest cover. This is alarming as it threatens millions of species and 2.7 million indigenous people live in the river basin. The rainforest also acts as a giant carbon sink absorbing 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.