Fires continue to blaze throughout the Amazon Rainforest


photo via Public Radio International

Everyone has heard the same three words all over social media in past weeks: “Save the Amazon.” However, no one really knows what’s going on. How did the fires start? How long have they been burning? What can we really do? 


About a month ago, fires began spreading throughout the Brazilian rainforest. Although authorities haven’t identified a singular cause for the fires, most of them have been attributed to human interference, said Christian Poirier, director of the Amazon Watch program. 


July and August are said to mark the beginning of the rainforest’s dry season, with the peak occurring in mid-September. Many local farmers use fires to clear land for farming or ranching in these months. Unfortunately, because of the dryness in the rainforest, these fires can quickly become uncontrollable and spread rapidly. There are also suspicions that nongovernmental organizations set some fires as a response to budget cuts in the Brazilian government. Still, the blaze can not be definitively attributed to any of these actions. 


The fires, which began about a month ago, are actively spreading throughout Brazil. Currently, they’re making headway toward Bolivia and Paraguay, and the smoke can be felt in Argentina and Uruguay, a report from Telesur said. 


Although it is common knowledge that there are multiple active fires in the Amazon, many don’t know the shear amount of fires there have been.


“In a 48-hour period [last week] there were more than 2,500 active fires in the Brazilian rainforest,” BCC said. 


Exactly how concerned should we be? Well, the Amazon Rainforest affects our daily lives more than one might think. 


“The area’s rainforest generates more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and is home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity,” reporter Shelby Brown wrote. According to CNN, the rainforest also regulates the climate. Losing the rainforest would greatly impact conditions worldwide. 


The main question everyone has been asking lately is how can we help. There are many organizations readily accepting donations: Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Trust, Rainforest Alliance, Amazon Watch, Amazon Conserve Team, World Wide Fund for Nature and One Tree Planted, to name a few. There are also many active petitions on and to mobilize investigations and support the Brazilian government. Outside these endeavors, there is not much we can do to stop the fires except keep the Amazon Rainforest in our prayers.