South America fires

The Amazon Wildfire Situation

As you may have heard, the Amazon is currently in the midst of multiple wildfires that has been burning for more than 2 weeks. The number of these massive trees act as a carbon “sink”, dramatically slowing global warming. The forest is the largest in the world, capturing gaseous carbon from the atmosphere, and transforming it into a solid state due to the Amazon’s amazing knack for photosynthesis.

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As CNN describes, “(The Amazon) is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet. The Amazon is often referred to as the planet's lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere”

The conditions there are especially fire-prone due to several environmental, and socio-political factors. According to NOAA, this July has been the hottest on record, worldwide. This, as well as the fact that during brazil’s dry season, fires are deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching - (BBC News). According to VOX News, The Amazon rainforest has experienced a record number of fires this year, with 72,843 reported so far. It’s an 84 percent increase over the number of wildfires at the same time last year.

Vox news points out that many areas across the world such as Siberia, the Canary Islands, Alaska, and Greenland have experienced a year of extreme wildfire, the most alarming are the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest. It’s an area with torrential rain that almost never burns on its own, yet the blazes have burned for more than two weeks, growing so intense that they sent smoke all the way to São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

Read more on the wildfire situation in the Amazon Rainforest here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49415973

https://www.vox.com/world/2019/8/20/20813786/wildfire-amazon-rainforest-brazil-siberia

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/21/americas/amazon-rainforest-fire-intl-hnk-trnd/index.html

Brush Fire Burns Near Rio's Olympic Cycling Course (PHOTOS)

"Athletes from Spain warm up on the pitch as a wildfire burns in the nearby hills of Deodoro before the quarterfinal hockey game against Great Britain on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Aug. 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil." (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Wildfires this year have even had an effect on the 2016 Rio Olympics. High temperatures and gusty winds fueled a brush fire that sent ash and debris on the field hockey facility and media tents, while also scorching part of the mountain bike course.

From the Source:

"A brush fire burned Monday near the Olympic cycling course in Rio de Janeiro, causing ash from the blaze to fall on the field hockey facility.

The fire started Monday afternoon as temperatures at the Deodoro Olympic Park soared to 97 degrees and winds turned gusty. The blaze was located near X-Park, which is hosting canoe slalom, BMX and mountain biking events. Later in the day, heavy rain fell on Rio, which delayed some of the track and field events.

Ash from the brush fire did not force any delays in a field hockey quarterfinal game between Britain and Spain, and the strong winds quickly blew away any ash that fell on the field."

Chile Wildfire Litters Questions in the Ash of Burned-Out Homes (AUDIO)

Economic inequality and lack of planning and infrastructure and how they may have contributed to the severe damage caused by the Valparaiso fire. 

From the Source: 

"In Chile, a fire that started in the hills above Valparaiso continues to burn. The blaze has killed 15 people and destroyed 2,500 homes in the area that surrounds Valparaiso. Reporter Alexandra Hall looks at some of those affected."

Pebre #FuerzaValpo

A wildfire doesn't just affect the communities that have lost their homes and livelihoods, it affects the whole region at large. There are always ways to help - here's how one group of people made a significant impact by feeding those in need.

Even if you don't understand Spanish, you can still understand the message of selflessness from the video.

Wildfires Rage in Chile (VIDEO)

From the Source: 

"At least 16 people are dead from wildfires burning around the coastal town of Valparaiso, Chile.

Strong winds have fanned the flames, making it difficult for firefighters to stop the blaze from spreading to over 2,000 acres of steep terrain. Homes are mostly wood, often built on hillsides with narrow access roads and no fire hydrants.

The fires have so far destroyed roughly 2,000 homes, and displaced at least 10,000 people. Until the burning is controlled, local officials expect those numbers will continue to rise."

Above: Screen-capture from Time video.

Above: Screen-capture from Time video.

Fire Destroys 2,000 Homes in Valparaiso (PHOTOS)

Stunning and quite chilling photos from the recent Valparaiso fires in Chile.

From the Source: 

"In the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, a massive fire started late Saturday. Fueled by strong winds, flames swept across hilly residential areas, destroying more than 2,000 houses and killing at least 12. Firefighters battled the blaze throughout the weekend and are still extinguishing isolated hot spots. Today, some Valparaiso residents are being allowed to return to their homes to assess the damage, recover what they can, and plan their next steps."

Above: "Embers are carried by high winds as a large forest fire reaches urban areas in Valparaiso, Chile, on April 13, 2014. Authorities say the fires destroyed thousands of homes, forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 and claimed the lives of at least 12 people." AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo.

Above: "Embers are carried by high winds as a large forest fire reaches urban areas in Valparaiso, Chile, on April 13, 2014. Authorities say the fires destroyed thousands of homes, forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 and claimed the lives of at least 12 people." AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo.

Blaze in Chilean Port City Kills 12, Destroys 2,000 Homes

From the Source: 

"At least 12 people have been killed by a massive blaze in Chile's port city of Valparaiso famous for its UNESCO-listed historic center, authorities confirmed Monday. 

Chilean police said 12 people have been confirmed dead, 500 injured and more than 10,000 people evacuated.

Pushed by strong Pacific coast winds, the fire rampaged over 741 acres of hilly residential neighborhoods — destroying at least 500 homes. The cause of the fire, which began in woodland near the city late on Saturday, was being investigated.

Over 2,000 homes were destroyed in the city of 250,000 over the weekend. Valparaiso’s rolling hills and closely spaced houses, many of them made of wood, make it difficult to fight the flames. The city, part gritty port town and part bohemian retreat, has a large number of people living in poverty."

Above: "People look at smoke from a forest fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago April 12, 2014." Courtesy of Cesar Pincheira (Reuters). 

Above: "People look at smoke from a forest fire in Valparaiso city, northwest of Santiago April 12, 2014." Courtesy of Cesar Pincheira (Reuters). 

Geographer: Drought, Fires Impact Ability of Amazon to Hold Carbon Dioxide

From the Source:

"Fires in the Amazon could jeopardize the forest's ability to soak up carbon dioxide emissions even as deforestation there slows down, according to a Penn State geographer. In an invited commentary in the Feb. 6 edition of Nature, Jennifer Balch, assistant professor of geography, noted that dry weather conditions, coupled with fires, may mean that over time the Amazon forest will lose its ability to take in more carbon dioxide than it releases — going from being a carbon sink to a source."

Above: "Fires in the Amazon, such as this pasture blaze in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, may swamp the forest's ability to take in more carbon dioxide than land use releases, according to Penn State geographer Jennifer Balch." - Penn State News

Above: "Fires in the Amazon, such as this pasture blaze in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, may swamp the forest's ability to take in more carbon dioxide than land use releases, according to Penn State geographer Jennifer Balch." - Penn State News