More fires are burning in the sub-Saharan desert than the Amazon rainforest right now

More fires are burning in the sub-Saharan desert than the Amazon rainforest right now

More fires were burning in central Africa over the weekend than in Brazil’s Amazon rainforests.

According to 25 August data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System, there are at least 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The same data put Brazil’s fires at approximately 2,127.

Raging wildfires in the Amazon has prompted international response, with social media campaigns, politicians and celebrities all pledging to help.

NASA's data prompted many to question the lack of coverage on the fires in Africa.

Scientist Abdulhakim Abdi pointed out that most of the fires happening in Africa are in “tropical dry woodlands…not in the rainforest.”

Brazilian officials said the government intends to reject more than $22m (£18m) pledged at the G7 summit in Biarritz to help.

Brazil did not immediately provide a reason for refusing the money, but its president Jair Bolsonaro has previously accused Mr Macron of adopting a “colonialist” mind-set at the summit of leading developed nations in France.

Leonardo’s DiCaprio’s non-profit organisation Earth Alliance has announced a new emergency fund for the Amazon rainforest and pledged an initial $5 million to the cause.

DiCaprio wrote on Instagram last week:

The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon - home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species - has been burning for more than two weeks straight.

There have been 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year - a staggering 84 per cent increase over the same period last year (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil).

Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.⁣⁣ The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution.

Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth's warming in check. The Amazon needs more than our prayers.

More: People are naming things that cost more than the G7's $20m aid package for the Amazon

The Conversation (0)