There have been more than 90,000 fires throughout the Amazon rainforest in 2019, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). In August, smoke from the burns blackened the sky in cities as distant as São Paulo and caught the world’s attention.
A spike in deforestation is in part to blame, as farmers have cleared land for livestock, cultivation, and development, encouraged by Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his campaign promises.
The number of fires observed in the rainforest have been trending downward after the early 2000s, when deforestation was rampant. But 2019 has seen more fires compared to recent years, and August saw a spike ahead of the annual season when fires are typically more frequent: The state of Amazonas had 11,412 fires in August alone, compared to 16,587 in all of 2018. Across the Amazon overall last month, there were more than 66,000 fires, according to NASA.
Using data from NASA’s FIRMS Fire Map, BuzzFeed News partnered with Lo Bénichou, an interactive developer at Mapbox, to visualize the number and scale of the fires throughout Brazil in August.