The Amazon rainforest is on fire. The smoke from the fires is so intense that Sao Paulo was plunged into darkness for about an hour on Monday afternoon, August 20, 2019. Even NASA satellite images have been able to pick up the thick smoke. Read on to see maps and photos of the smoke and fire in the Brazil region.
Photos & Maps Show the Smoke Spreading from the Amazon Fire
On Monday, August 19, Sao Paulo in Brazil turned as dark as night because of the smoke for about an hour. Sao Paulo is 2,200 kilometers away from the fire in Rondonia, which gives you an idea of just how intense the fire is. Some of the smoke in Sao Paulo was confirmed to be from the fires in Rondonia and Bolivia, Globo shared. Another source of the smoke was from fires near Bolivia’s border, in Mato Grosso do Sul. The fires that darkened the sky were not from fires in Sao Paulo itself, Globo reiterated, but were from Rondonia and Boliia fires. The smoke spread after a cold front changed direction, pushing the smoke in the direction of Sao Paulo.
Caroline Vidal, a meteorologist, told Globo about the smoke: “The wind can even bring this smoke from burning, but it would have to be very intense fire. Usually, this occurs more with smoke from volcanoes.”
On Tuesday, air quality analysis found burned particles in the rain in Sao Paulo, Globo reported. The soot and particulate matter were seven times higher than in normal rainwater.
Meanwhile, in Porto Velho (the capital of Rondonia), air pollution and carbon monoxide could pose health threats to the population, Globo noted.
The smoke can now be seen on Brazil’s Atlantic coast. This photo below, from NASA, shows the smoke clearly visible in the Amazon region. The photo was picked up by NASA satellites August 11-13. This first photo is from August 11.
The next photo is from August 13.
Next up is a map, produced by Copernicus and the EU’s Atmosphere Monitoring Service, showing the smoke spreading across the country on August 20. See the full map here. If you visit the map and hit play, you can see the smoke forecast for the coming days and also see how the smoke has spread.
Here are more details about the smoke findings. The tweet below reads: “Latest #Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service aerosol forecast shows smoke from widespread fires in Amazonia reaching Atlantic coast & Sao Paolo following increased fire activity especially in states of Amazonas & Rondonia since 1 August in GFAS data.”
The animation below shows the fire increasing.
According to NASA, fires in the Amazon increase in July and August and reach their peak in September, typically stopping by November.
This map from NASA below shows fires from 2000 to today. You can see the fires increasing over the years.
Interactive Maps Show the Fires
InfoAmazonia provides a map that shows the fires currently burning in Brazil. The map below shows fires in the region. The red dots indicate fires in the last 24 hours. The yellow shading indicates intense fires. The sources on the map are from NASA.
The map shows that Brazil’s 2019 fires are the highest in seven years.
The map below shows Rondonia and Bolivia on fire. Red spots indicate high carbon monoxide concentrations, which is an indicator of an active fire. The map is provided by Windy.com. You can see the full interactive map here and an embed is below.
Data from NASA and the Global Fire Emissions Database indicated that total fire activity in the Amazon is just below average compared to the last 15 years, but has been above average specifically in Amazonas and Rondonia. It’s been below average in Mato Grosso and Para, which is why the total is below average at the moment. Globo, however, noted that Brazilian Amazon fires were doubled from January to August 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018, with fires burning in Rondonia up by nearly 190 percent.
A government monitoring system has said that fires in Brazil are up 84 percent from this same time period last year, ABC 11 reported.