Smoke from wildfires turns day into night in Sao Paulo, Brazil

fires wildfires Brazil Bolivia
Map showing heat (the red dots) and smoke in Bolivia and Brazil detected by a satellite August 14, 2019. Click to enlarge.

Smoke from hundreds of fires in the Amazon Basin combined with clouds Monday afternoon to plunge a major South American city into darkness.

Numerous fires in Bolivia and the Amazon Basin in Brazil have been creating smoke in recent days that got pushed hundreds of miles by a cold front to Sao Paulo, turning the sky dark.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Washington Post:

“The smoke [Monday] didn’t come from fires in the state of Sao Paulo, but from very dense and wide fires that have been happening for several days in [the state of] Rondonia and Bolivia,” Josélia Pegorim, a meteorologist with Climatempo, said in an interview with Globo. “The cold front changed direction and its winds transported the smoke to Sao Paulo.”

The news highlighted the number of forest fires in Brazil, which rose by more than 80 percent this year, according to data released this week by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

“This central Brazil and south of the Amazon Rainforest region has been undergoing a prolonged drought,” Alberto Setzer, a researcher at INPE, said in an interview with local media outlets. “And there are some places where there has not fallen a drop of rain for three months.”

Most of the Amazon was once considered fireproof, but as climate change and deforestation remake the world, wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity, recent research has shown.

In the Amazon region, according to NASA, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading. However, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season. Many people use fire to maintain farmland and pastures or to clear land for other purposes. Typically, activity peaks in early September and mostly stops by November.

The map above, showing heat and smoke in Brazil and Bolivia on August 14, is the best we could find. More recent satellite imagery has either clouds, or smoke so dense over very large areas that smoke from individual fires couldn’t be distinguished from smoke covering very large areas.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

2 thoughts on “Smoke from wildfires turns day into night in Sao Paulo, Brazil”

  1. Por que el mundo no a hecho nada para impedir que esto sea mayor. sera porque no hay inversion en estas tierras? porque no esta en el medio de una gran ciudad? sera porque ningun millonario vive ahi? les digo algo, no vivira ningun millonario o estara en medio de una gran ciudad, pero hay animales, nativos viviendo ahi, parte de la naturaleza que todavia no hemos explorado esta ahi!!!… por que no podemos hacer algo para impedir que este fuego continue!!!! por favor miren las fotos, esos pobre animales estan muriendo sin poder hacer nada. cuando se incendio Notre Dame enseguida todo el mundo se puso en funcion de para el fuego y a su vez donar dinero para su pronta recuperacion, no tengo nada encontra de eso, solo quiero que esas mismas personas miren esto y ayuden. algo hay que hacer. por favor miren las fotos y ponganse la mano en el corazon.

  2. Is there a need for volunteer firefighters to help manage these blazes? If so, who shall I contact? Thanks for any information you can provide.

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