Satellite Imagery Shows Smoke Above Amazon as High Number of Forest Fires Reported

Satellite imagery of the Amazon rainforest taken on August 23 shows a haze of smoke over the basin amid record fires for the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research said there was an 84 percent increase in fires in 2019 compared to the previous year.

NASA said on August 16 that satellite observations indicated that total fire activity in the Amazon basin was slightly below average in comparison to the past 15 years, though activity has been above average in Amazonas.

In an email to Storyful, a NASA spokesperson said “the source of the information we posted about the current fires in Amazonia is the ‘Global Fire Emissions Database’. This database presents analysis of the latest satellite data, month to month and year to year. Data about such things as cumulative fire counts per region are displayed in interactive graphics on a public website.”

NASA also indicated that the fires in Amazonas were above average, saying that for the whole Amazon region, “the line as of mid-August is midway between the high and the low for the years measured, that is, roughly average. However, if you [look at] the Amazonas region, you’ll get a graph for just that region, which tells a very different story.”

The Global Fire Emissions Database figures for August 22, 2019, state that there were 10,352 fires burning in Amazonas, compared with 4,672 on the same date in 2018, and 8,172 on the same date in 2017.

Update: This post was updated on August 23 to include NOAA satellite imagery of the Amazon captured during the day, on August 23. Credit: NOAA/CIRA via Storyful

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