Brazil’s Sao Paulo turned dark in the daytime as Amazon continued to burn, producing magnanimous clouds of black smoke.
The devastating fire is expanding at a dangerous rate and can even be seen from space.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, excessive grey plumes and smoke billows are disseminating to even thousands of miles away from the source toward the Atlantic coast and northwest of Brazil.
Spooky photos that are now viral on the social media shows the dark fumes and smoke heading to Sao Paulo which is 1,700 miles away from the rainforest.
The whole city got dark on Monday noon, with people switching on the headlights of their cars to find their way.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded about 72,843 forest fires in Brazil this year, out of which 9,500 have erupted within the past one or two weeks, and 13,000 have been recorded in just one Brazilian state – Matto Grosso.
This year, an 83 per cent surge in wildfires has been reported with respect to the same period in 2018. What is even alarming is the fact that it’s the highest surge mark ever recorded in the country.
The massive smoke clouds are already drifting toward the Atlantic Ocean and are being noticed on the western coast of Africa.
In the north Roraima, the sky has completely turned black due to the smoke clouds.
Amid the catastrophe which has prompted a global outcry, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro blamed NGOs to have ‘set fire’ to the rainforest.
The president couldn’t prove his claim but added that ‘everything indicates’ it. He said he had ‘no written plan’ because ‘that’s not how it’s done.’
According to Bolsonaro, NGOs are trying to undermine his position because he had slashed their funding.
“These people are missing the money,” Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live video, emphasizing that ‘crime exists.’
Bolsonaro’s remarks will only add fuel to the fire as his administration is already criticized for being negligent about the world’s most important ecosystem – the Amazon rainforest – which is also hailed the earth’s primary bulwark against climate change.
The Brazilian president wants to develop the Amazon, more than half of which lies in Brazil, by supporting agribusiness and mining agencies.
When other countries and environment activists warned that the deforestation of the world’s largest rainforest could disturb the earth’s climate, Bolsonaro straightforwardly told them not to interfere in what he said was Brazil’s internal matter.
In his live broadcast, the president said the government is continuously working to bring the fire under control.
When asked about the increasing number of the uncontrolled fires, the president said it’s the usual season of ‘queimada,’ when farmers have to burn the land.
“I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada,” he said.
The INPE says that such a large increase in wildfires cannot be attributed to just nature and natural phenomena.
“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” said Alberto Setzer, a researcher at INPE.
Although wildfires can start naturally in a dry season, they are often intentionally started by the farmers who want a clean area for cattle ranching.
And now when the head of the state is a climate change skeptic who’s promoting pro-agribusiness policies, the farmers may feel empowered to engage in illegally setting fire to some patches of the rainforest.
Within just seven months from January to August this year, deforestation in the Amazon forest has increased by 67 per cent, according to a report from the INPE.
As the incumbent Brazilian administration didn’t seem to be fighting against the deforestation, Norway and Germany have announced this month that they will no longer provide the funding for environment-sustainability programs in Brazil.
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