The number of fire hotspots has surged in the Bolivian and Brazilian parts of the Amazon, reveals data and imagery from NASA.
NASA data presented by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) show the accumulated number of fires in Brazil have climbed by 156 percent over last year, from 18,502 to 47,514. Bolivia has seen its number of fires more than triple from 2,892 to 8,841.
The fires are believed to be primary the result of land-clearing for agriculture and cattle ranching. Unusually dry and windy conditions have enabled the fires to spread, sometimes into forest areas. The cattle and soy industries are important drivers of land use change in both Brazil and Bolivia.
An image released by NASA shows smoke obscuring a 2,500-kilometer corridor extending from Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil in the north to Argentina in the south. NASA’s Aqua satellite, which measures fire at a greater sensitivity than the INPE figures presented above, detected 148,946 fires in the image, which was taken on August 23, 2010.
(08/27/2010) The number of fires burning in Brazil more than doubled since last year, sparking a Twitter sensation, with more than 120,000 users tweeting messages with the hashtag ‘#chegadequeimadas’ about the fires in a 48 hour window.
(06/03/2010) While rates of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon have been on the decline since 2004, the incidence of fire is increasing in the region, undermining some of the carbon emissions savings of reduced deforestation rates, report researchers writing in the journal Science. The paper argues that REDD, a global plan to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, must include measures to eliminate the use of fire from land management in the Amazon.