Amazon wildfires can be seen from space, NASA images show

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The rampant wildfires spreading across the Amazon can be seen from space, according to new images from NASA.

The images were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, NASA Earth Observatory said in a post. There were "several fires burning in the states of Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, and Mato Grosso on August 11 and August 13, 2019."

Amazonas, the largest state in Brazil, recently declared a state of emergency over the forest fires, according to Euro News.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Caption by Adam Voiland.

Fires in the Amazon are routine, typically occurring in July and August, as the region goes through a dry season, interspersed between wet weather the remainder of the year. However, the fires this year have produced enough smoke to be seen from space.

NASA added that as of Aug. 16, satellite observations indicated total fire activity in the Amazon basin "was slightly below average in comparison to the past 15 years." Activity in the Amazonas, and to a lesser extent in Rondônia, is considered "above average."

In Mato Grosso and Pará, the fire activity is considered "below average," according to the Global Fire Emissions Database.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Caption by Adam Voiland.

There were 1,699 forest fires detected in Amazonas by satellites, 80 percent of which happened in July. That compares to 2,221, 1,784 and 1,695 in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. Mato Grosso has seen 8,799 fires through Aug. 2, a 39 percent increase year over year, according to Euro News.

Scientist Mark Parrington told the news outlet that the tendency is for fires to increase towards the end of August, especially in Rondônia.

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