Widespread raging wildfires across the Amazon area, are a true ecological disaster, with heavy destruction of a very rich natural ecosystem. Wildfires in this region occur every year, as the region enters its dry season. Many of the wildfires are started artificially by locals, with the intention to burn down the forests to create open land for agriculture. This year the wildfires are very large and spread enough for smoke to be seen from space. Below are two images from the NASA MODIS satellite imagery showing the large scale wildfires and smoke.

The fires produce so much smoke (and carbon monoxide – CO) that it can be traced as it circles the south hemisphere. The graphic below is an analysis from the NASA GEOS-5 model. Graphics below are produced by SWE from NASA data.

On the animation from the same model, we can see how the carbon monoxide from the wildfires circles in the south hemisphere. In some regions close to the sources of the smoke, the concentrations are high enough to darken the skies during the day and can cause respiratory problems, especially for children and older people.

(CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LOAD ANIMATION)