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Why the Amazon Is on Fire

The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.
Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

The Amazon rainforest is burning.

That in itself is not extraordinary: July marked the start of fire season. But the whole year has been a record-breaking one in Brazil, which contains 60 percent of the Amazon’s land mass. Scientists at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (also called INPE) said that the number of fires counted is about 85 percent higher than last year; on Tuesday, about one new fire was sprouting every minute.