Wildfires rage in the Amazon: Live updates - CNN
Smoke from the Amazon wildfires has covered almost half of Brazil
The European Union's satellite program, Copernicus, released showing smoke from the fires spreading all along Brazil to the east Atlantic coast.
The and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Take a look:
This viral photo isn't actually of the 2019 Amazon wildfires
Social media helped increase coverage of the wildfires — but it's also contributing to misinformation.
One of the most-shared photos on social media shows a lush forest with a massive wall of smoke billowing from a fire. Musical artist and actor and YouTube celebrity Logan Paul both shared it.
The problem: While the image does show the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, it's more than 30 years old: The Guardian, which republished the photo in 2007, says it was taken in June 1989.
It's hard to stop man-made wildfires
It's very difficult to halt human-induced blazes, Lincoln Muniz Alves, a researcher at The National Institute for Space Research's Earth System Science Centre, told CNN.
Environmental organizations say the wildfires in the Amazon were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who wanted to clear and utilize the land.
"Because the use of fire is a traditional part of tropical
agriculture to clean agricultural land, grazing land, it is
very difficult to stop it," Alves said in an email.
The National Institute for Space Research, Brazils's space research center.
Activists say Brazil's president encouraged ranchers to burn the Amazon
As images and news of the fire spread, many activists are demanding accountability from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Here's why: When Bolsonaro was running for president, he made campaign promises to restore the economy by exploring the Amazon's economic potential. Now, environmental organizations say he has encouraged ranchers, farmers and loggers to exploit and burn the rainforest like never before with a sense of impunity.
(Remember: Environmental organizations and researchers say these wildfires were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who .)
The pro-business Bolsonaro has hamstrung Brazil's environmental enforcement agency with budget cuts amounting to $23 million — official data sent to CNN by Observatorio do Clima shows the enforcement agency's operations have gone down since Bolsonaro was sworn in.
What Bolsonaro is saying: Bolsonaro has dismissed accusations of responsibility for the fires. On Wednesday, he speculated that the Amazon fires could have been caused by nonprofit organizations who are suffering from lack of funding, to "generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government."
Why the Amazon is so important
The Amazon is often referred to as the planet's lungs. It produces 20% of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere.
It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora.
Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.
The number of fires in Brazil is 80% higher than last year
The National Institute for Space Research, Brazils's space research center said this week that the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year.
More than half of those are in the Amazon region — spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.
Those fires are burning at the highest rate since the National Institute for Space Research began tracking them in 2013.
Why the Amazon matters: The Amazon forest produces about 20% of the world's oxygen, and is often called "the planet's lungs." According to the , if it is irrevocably damaged, it could start emitting carbon instead -- the major driver of climate change.
This is what the Amazon wildfires look like from space
Satellite images show what the record-setting wildfires burning in Brazil look like from space.
The European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellite captures the image above. It shows just one of the wildfires burning near Conselvan, Brazil, according to Maxar technologies.
Another image from NASA used their MODIS sensor, which helps to detect wildfires and heat sources. This image shows how many fires were burning on Tuesday: