The Amazon fire season is gaining momentum, and this year could be worse than last. As of today, 267 major fires have been detected in the Amazon this year, burning more than 105,000 hectares (260,000 acres) — an area roughly the size of Los Angeles, California. More than 75% of these fires blazed in the Brazilian Amazon, followed by Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, according to a report by the Amazon Conservation Association’s Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP). MAAP detects major fires using heat alerts from the ground as well as aerosol emission data (able to detect smoke). Fires are verified using Planet satellite imagery and reported using their real-time Amazon fire monitoring app. Yellow dots represent major Amazon fires in 2021 as visualized in MAAP’s real-time fire monitoring app. Data: MAAP, Amazon Conservation. As of August 2nd, there have been 203 major fires in Brazil this year compared to 98 by the same date last year, well ahead of the typical fire season peak in late August. In the Bolivian Amazon, 35 major fires have been detected, burning 19,000 hectares (48,000 acres) of natural savanna ecosystems in the department of Santa Cruz alone. In Peru, primarily higher elevation grasslands have been affected. Unlike in the U.S. West, fires don’t occur naturally in the Amazon rainforest but are set deliberately to clear felled trees and plants to make way for agriculture or renew existing pasture. Most of the fires in Brazil this year (67%) have burned in already deforested…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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