The efforts to extinguish the massive wildfires continue in the Amazon rainforest as global concern rises.
Brazil’s satellite monitoring agency has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year with more than half of those coming this month alone. That’s an 84 percent increase of wildfires over the same period in 2018.
Satellite images show smoke from the Amazon reaching across the Latin American continent to the Atlantic coast and Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Experts say most of the fires were set by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland.
Federal prosecutors in Brazil’s Amazon region launched investigations of increasing deforestation, according to local media. Prosecutors said they plan to probe possible negligence by the national government in the enforcement of environmental codes.
Seven nations, including the US, have sent reinforcements or are preparing to help Brazil battle the fires and repair the damage.
Bolivia is also struggling to contain big fires, many believed to have been set by farmers clearing land for cultivation.
A Colorado-based global supertanker plane was sent in to help ground crews in Bolivia. The plane holds around 19,000 gallons of water, which it drops on stretches of rainforest about a quarter of a mile at a time.
Environmental activists across the world are crying out saying the fires could have a lasting impact on the world and more needs to be done.
Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest that is a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to scientists, the rainforest also produces six percent of the world’s oxygen.