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Record wildfires rage in Amazon Rainforest as President fans flames

The amount of wildfires to devastate the Amazon so far this year is the worst on record. REUTERS

Record wildfires rage in Amazon Rainforest as President fans flames

Thousands of wildfires are raging in the Amazon as scientists and conservations blame Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro for allowing the most destructive year in the rainforest on record.

Record wildfires rage in Amazon Rainforest as President fans flames

A record number of wildfires are raging in the Amazon Rainforest.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) says it has detected 74,000 fires across the Amazon basin so far this year, an increase of 84% compared to the same period last year.

A fire from 2017 illustrates the scale of destruction the blazes can inflict. REUTERS

A fire from 2017 illustrates the scale of destruction the blazes can inflict. REUTERS

The agency says it’s observed 9,500 fires just in the past week.

An area of rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is lost every minute. REUTERS

An area of rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is lost every minute. REUTERS

The running total makes for the Amazon’s most devastating year since records began in 2013.

Amazon wildfires: Why are they happening?

Farmers based in the Amazon will often illegally start controlled fires to clear land for cattle ranching and other agricultural purposes.

On top of that, the dry season often heralds a natural spike in forest blazes.

Inpe says it's observed almost 75,000 fires across the Amazon rainforest already this year. REUTERS

Inpe says it’s observed almost 75,000 fires across the Amazon rainforest already this year. REUTERS

However, conservationists have blamed President Jair Bolsonaro for the record level of fires, suggesting he has been encouraging farmers to clear more land for the lucrative logging industry.

Scientists have also said the rainforest’s plight has accelerated since he took office in January, according to the BBC.

Amazon wildfires: President Bolsonaro fans the flames

The fires have generated some serious political heat.

Last week, Bolsonaro sacked the head of Inpe, the agency which has illustrated the devastation from space.

Scientists say there's been an increase in Amazonian wildfires since Bolsonaro took office. REUTERS

Scientists say there’s been an increase in Amazonian wildfires since Bolsonaro took office. REUTERS

Bolsonaro has even blamed Brazilian NGOs (non-government organisations) for starting the fires themselves in order to, the president claims, paint an even dimmer picture of him after he cut their funding.

The president said in a Facebook live broadcast last week, ‘there could be…, I’m not affirming it, criminal action by these ‘NGOers’ to create negative attention against my person, against the government of Brazil. This is the war that we are facing.”

The Amazon basin is home to three million species of flora and fauna.

It’s the world’s largest rainforest and carbon store, and its existence is vital for slowing the pace of global warming.

It’s estimated around a football pitch worth of rainforest is lost every minute.

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