'Lungs of the earth' in flames: Amazon rainforest rapidly burning

'Lungs of the earth' in flames: Amazon rainforest rapidly burning

- The Amazon rainforest is burning at a rapid rate

- There have been 10 000 fires in the forest in the last few weeks

- At its peak, the rainforest was burning at a rate of three football fields a minute

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Fires have ravaged the Amazon rainforest over the last 16 days.

There have been some 40 000 fires this year alone, with 10 000 in the last handful of weeks.

The smoke from the blaze was so dense that it could be seen from 3 000 kilometres away.

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Amazon is critical in keeping the earth's CO2 levels balanced, Briefly.co.za has gathered. According to CapeTalk, the rainforest (which is often referred to as the 'lungs of the planet) produces 20% of the world's oxygen.

A number of the fires were started by farmers and loggers and were initially controlled but have since spread rapidly, according to Business Insider. As a result, Amazonas, Brazil's biggest state, declared a state of emergency this week.

Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has drawn significant criticism for the fires. This is because most of the Amazon falls within his country's borders and his administration has recently rolled back protections for the rainforest. Bolsonaro supports several mining and construction projects in the region, which are causing deforestation. He has also said that clamping down on illegal logging is not one of his government's highest priorities.

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Additionally, several experts have said that global warming has contributed to the rate and frequency of the fires in the Amazon.

According to Climate Central, warming often leads to reduced rainfall and decreased moisture in the soil, both of which increase the likelihood of fires.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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