Fires now burning in the Amazon, particularly Brazil and Bolivia, have become headline news and a viral topic on social media.

Yet little information exists on the impact on the Amazon rainforest itself, as many of the detected fires originate in or near agricultural lands.

Here, we advance the discussion on the impact of the fires by presenting the first Base Map of current “fire hotspots” across three countries (Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru),  and a striking series of satellite images that show what the fires actually look like and how they are impacting Amazonian forests. Our focus is on the most recent fires in August 2019.

Our key findings include:

  • Fires are burning Amazonian forest in BoliviaBrazil, and Peru.
  • The fires in Bolivia are concentrated in the dry Chiquitano forests in the southern Amazon.
  • The fires in Brazil are much more scattered and widespread, often associated with agricultural lands. Thus, we warn against using fire detection data alone as a measure of impact as many are clearing fields. However, many of the fires are at the agriculture-forest boundary and maybe expanding plantations or escaping into forest.
  • Although not as severe, we also detected fires burning forest in southern Peru, in an area that has become a deforestation hotspot along the Interoceanic Highway.

Given the nature of the fires in Bolivia and Brazil, estimates of total burned forest area are still difficult to determine. We will continue monitoring and reporting on the situation over the coming days.


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