Fires are raging at record speed in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change. The blaze has been active for some time now but has just gained mainstream media attention due to the efforts social media advocates.

The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday. Overall, there have been a total of 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said, showing more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.

Often referred to as the planet’s lungs, the Amazon produces 20% of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere, making the recent news particularly devastating. Also with the perceived worsening of Global Warming, the CO2 released into the atmosphere is effecting the uncountable species of fauna and flora in the region.

 

The European Union’s satellite program, Copernicus, released a map showing smoke from the fires spreading throughout Brazil to the East Atlantic coast that has covered nearly half the entire country, and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

 

People worldwide are sharing their horror on social media. Fans of the K-Pop band BTS, who call themselves the Army, are even rallying on Twitter to spread word of the fires, with tens of thousands of people tweeting the hashtag #ArmyHelpThePlanet.

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