The Amazon rainforest is home to about three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people and fires continue to destroy much of the beloved forest. Official figures from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) state over 78,000 forest fires occurred in Brazil this year, a surge of 84 percent compared with the same period in 2018. The infernos continue to destroy much of the Amazon’s 5.5 million km2 of forest and recent pictures released from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) show the extent of the devastation caused by the blazes.
One image shows acres of the Amazon basin completely decimated, with only a few trees remaining.
Plumes of smoke can still be seen in the perimeter, where parts of the forest appear untouched by the devastating blaze.
The second image is particularly striking and shows a young boy on a bicycle just metres away from a raging fire.
Smoke pours out from the flames, while the boy seems unphased by the scale of the fire.
The final image shows a tree engulfed by flames surrounded in a sea of thick black smoke.
The sky glows red as the fire rages on in the world’s largest tropical forest.
The raging inferno has prompted an international outcry, as hundreds condemned Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro handling of the crisis.
On Friday European leaders threatened to tear up a trade deal with South Africa.
JUST IN: Amazon rainforest fire: Merkel and Macron plotting censored as hand cuts of camera feed
Defence Minister Fernando Azvedo said the army will be involved in “unprecedented” operations to help extinguish the fires.
He added that the military’s first task will involve the deployment of 700 troops to the area around Porto Velho, Rondonia’s capital, where the military will use two C-130 Hercules aircrafts capable of dumping up to 12,000 litres of water per journey.
The troops will also be sent to nature reserves, indigenous lands and border areas beset by fires.
Previously, Mr Bolsonaro had accused non-governmental organisations of starting the fires, without providing any evidence, and brushed off claims made by INPE.
Even after announcing he had authorised the use of troops to tackle the blazes, the President attributed the scale of the fires to drier-than-average weather.
But INPE said a large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone.
Researcher Alberto Setzer said: “There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average.
“The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”