Man Made Fires Destroy Amazon Rainforest and the World’s Climate


Ayelet Schuster

Slider image from Flickr.

Since January 2019 alone, there have been over 74,000 fires in the Brazillian Amazon. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research’s (INPE) data, fires reached an all time high with an 85 percent increase in fires from the previous year. The record for the most deforestation in the Amazon for a single month was beaten in July, according to sciencealert. A total of 519 square miles of the Amazon was completely burned down. 

Recent fires have been devastating the Amazon and areas throughout Brazil. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The fires increased in July because the Amazon goes through its annual dry period from July to October. During the dry period, any spark can easily spread a major fire throughout large parts of the rainforest. While there are still rainforest fires in the wetter months, they do not spread as easily, which makes them more controllable. 

There are a number of sources of fires, but according to, the most common ones include lightning strikes and people clearing the forest for commercial use.  According to, 99 percent of the recent fires have been caused by humans intentionally or by accident.

Fires are also commonly started by farmers or ranchers to clear land for agribusiness projects. They wait for the dry season to burn because the vegetation is already dry. Once the areas are cleared, cattle ranchers let their cattle graze the land. 

But why should the rest of the world care about the Amazon rainforest being burned down if they do not see any of the direct effects? 

First of all, the Amazon is the home of over a million people and three million species of animals. According to National Geographic, the fires could alter the entire ecosystem of the Amazon. Without the shade from the trees, animals will have to figure out new ways of living in the rainforest with more direct light. This could also cause already rare species in the world to become extinct. 

The largest effect these fires have on the world is on global warming. The Amazon is often referred to as “the lungs of the planet” because it produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. The plants and trees of the Amazon take in significant amounts of the world’s carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which helps to maintain the world’s carbon dioxide levels.

The burning of the Amazon creates many issues, as it is described as “the lungs of the planet.” Photo from JPL NASA.

Ten percent of all global warming emissions are due to deforestation, according to This is because when trees are cut down or burned, the carbon they store is released as carbon dioxide into the air. With the loss of trees in the Amazon, carbon dioxide levels have not been effectively maintained. 

Global warming causes the world’s temperatures to rise, which makes the Amazon’s dry season even drier. Fires become more frequent and destructive, which increases the world’s carbon dioxide levels and global warming. Farmers take advantage of these dry seasons because they want to burn as much land as possible for agribusiness projects. 

In places such as Kansas City, global warming has so far the largest effect on our weather. Since Kansas City is a naturally drier place, it will continue to become drier as global warming continues. This means that there will be more hot summer days and less frost in the winter time. Low-income families will be largely affected by this heat increase because it will become harder for them to maintain air and water quality. 

Not only will the Amazon and other areas in South America feel the effects of these fires, but the whole world will deal with  global warming. This means that it is important for the entire world to help the Amazon and prevent deforestation. If agribusiness projects in the Amazon continue, more carbon will be released into the air causing global warming emissions to continue affecting the world’s climate.