Angola And DR Congo Have Had More Forest Fires Than The Amazon
The Amazon rainforest has been a huge point of concern recently as forest fires are currently tearing through the area, however it’s not the only place suffering as even more blazes have been recorded in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Last week, NASA released images taken from space which showed the vast number of fires affecting the Amazon, which covers northwestern Brazil and extends into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries.
The sight is undeniably shocking but the fires almost appear minimal when compared to Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. NASA’s maps of fires around the world shows whole blocks of red stretching almost entirely from the east to the west coast and encompassing the two regions.
MODIS satellite data analysed by Weather Source revealed Angola had three times as many fires as Brazil over a period of two days last week, Bloomberg report.
While 2,127 fires were recorded in Brazil, there were 3,396 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 6,902 fires in Angola over the past 48 hours.
It is unclear whether the blazes in Africa are grassland or forest fires and the data does not show how big the fires are but NASA have explained fire across central Africa is not uncommon in the summertime.
Take a look at NASA’s map:
Seasonally, farmers set fire to the remains of old crop fields to rid them of the leftover grasses and scrub in a process called ‘slash and burn’ – though that’s not to say every fire in the image is controlled or contained.
Last June, the Global Forest Watch website reportedly counted 67,162 fires in one week in Angola alone.
The ash generated by slash and burn provides the newly-cleared land with a nutrient-rich layer to help fertilise crops but NASA point out fires intended to renew fields can grow out of control as wind or storms spread flames to different areas.
The fires also produce smoke which degrades air quality and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists warn it can also lead to deforestation, soil erosion and a loss of biodiversity, the BBC report.
Social media users have expressed concern for the huge amount of fires raging through Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with some criticising the fact so much attention has been focused on the Amazon.
One tweeter accused French President Emmanuel Macron of ignoring blazes in Africa after he described the fires in the Amazon as an ‘international crisis’.
Macron is among many world leaders and celebrities who have been expressing their concern for Amazon fires. Leonardo DiCaprio has been raising awareness for the issue and recently his Earth Alliance organisation donated $5 million to five local organisations directly related to combating the blaze.
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