There are fires raging across the continent of Africa, but there has been little global media attention given to the issue.
The fires in the Amazon quickly became one of the biggest stories of the summer in late August, after numerous celebrities voiced their support for rainforest preservation on social media.
Significant donations have poured in from all over the world in the days since the fires became international news. Of course, this makes sense considering that the Amazon is such a famous place, but there are equally important rainforests in Africa that are being cleared for the same reason.
According to data from the MODIS satellite, which was analyzed and published by Weather Source, the African country of Angola is burning worse than anywhere else on earth right now.
The satellite data suggests that at least 6,902 fires have started in Angola between August 21st and 23rd.
The nearby Democratic Republic of Congo is facing a similar situation, with a staggering 3,395 fires being reported in the same timespan. Brazil, where much of the Amazon rainforest is located, comes in third with 2,127 fires.
It is important to note that in the past several decades, large fires have been very common throughout Africa, but that doesn’t mean that these fires are natural.
The vast majority of these fires are intentionally started to clear the way for crops, because it is far cheaper than clearing the space tree by tree, however, there are very serious risks that these fires will grow out of control and damage areas much larger than intended.
Global Fire Season
This is often a dry season, but some parts of the world have seen an unprecedented number of fires this year. Furthermore, because many fires are intentionally set to make room for agricultural businesses, fires are now appearing in parts of the world that do not typically experience such things, like the artic circle for example.
Even though the Amazon is getting all of the attention right now, there are also large fires spread throughout Angola, Congo, Spain, Greece, Alaska, and Siberia.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, over 100 major fires have been reported in the Arctic Circle, which is a record number for the area. In Siberia, another area where wildfires are not incredibly common, some 21,000 square miles of woodland were damaged. Fires are also raging across Alaska and Greenland, which has many experts very concerned.
Unprecedented #wildfires in #Arctic. Over past 6 weeks @CopernicusEU #Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) has tracked more than 100 intense fires in the Arctic Circle. In June alone, these fires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere = Sweden’s total annual emissions. pic.twitter.com/poQWzutgAA
— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) July 12, 2019
The Greek island of Evia has also seen extreme fires this month, and was put under a state of emergency by the local government. Huge fires also swept across Russia, burning over 1 million hectares of forest in the county’s Krasnoyarsk Territory.
Not far away, on Spain’s Canary Islands, 9,000 people were forced to evacuate. The nearby island of Gran Canaria also had devastating fires earlier this year, which destroyed roughly 46,000 square miles of forest.
It is certainly interesting that many of these same situations are happening all over the world, but as usual, the international community seems to ignore what is happening in Africa.