Smoke from Amazon Rain Forest Fires Have Turned Sao Paulo's Days into Nights

Spooky images show Sao Paulo covered in a thick cloud of smoke as drivers try to make their way around the city on Monday afternoon. Officials with Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) said the darkness was the consequence of humid air and smoke from exceptional fires scorching in the Amazon rainforest thousands of miles away. There have been 9,507 new forest fires across Brazil in the past four days alone, leading to concerns a surge in deforestation is wreaking havoc on the environment.

Sao Paulo plunged into darkness in the middle of the day as thick smoke from Amazon wildfires blankets the city

More than 70,000 fires have been spotted in Brazil this year so far, marking an 83% surge over the same period last year according to the country’s INPE research Centre. Although the unparalleled upsurge, climate concerns have been sacked by far-right President and Jair Bolsonaro. The climate change disbeliever brushed of criticism by saying it was the time of the year when farmers use fire to clear land. He has promised to develop the protected Amazon area for farming and mining, disregarding international worry over the influence of cutting down trees. The Amazon is home to the world’s biggest tropical forest and is perceived as vital to confronting global warming.

Overcast and dark sky at Marginal Pinheiros Avenue region, near the Eus??bio Matoso Bridge, in the west of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on the afternoon of August 19, 2019, with cold and light rain. NILTON FUKUDA/ESTADAO CONTEUDO (Agencia Estado via AP Images)

Though wildfires are common in the dry season, the INPE said there was nothing irregular about the climate or the rainfall in the Amazon this year, meaning deforestation is possible to behind the increase in fires. They said deforestation in the rainforest increased 67% in the first seven months of the year. Though, the data have been dismissed by Bolsonaro, who promised to develop the Amazon region when he took office in January.

epa07783333 A handout photo made available by NASA of a satellite image showing several fires burning in the Brazilian states of Amazonas (top C-L), Para (top R), Mato Grosso (bottom R) and Rondonia (bottom C), 13 August 2019 (issued 21 August 2019). In picture at bottom left is seen Bolivia. In the Amazon region, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading. However, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season. Many people use fire to maintain farmland and pastures or to clear land for other purposes. EPA/NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

He has criticized the government agency’s data and only just fired its head over what he named “lies” that damaged Brazil’s repute. Mentioning the deforestation numbers he told a press conference:
“News like this that does not match the truth causes great damage to the image of Brazil.”

Earlier this month, Germany and Norway declared the holdup of environmental funding for sustainability projects in Brazil’s forests, both saying his far-right administration is not dedicated to fight deforestation.