The world is looking on aghast as the Amazon rainforest burns with reckless abandon. The forest—which is often referred to as the “lungs of the planet” due to producing 20 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere—has seen a shocking uptick in the number of fires this year, with some 73,000 blazes recorded so far in 2019, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe). That represents an 83 percent increase in fires in comparison with last year, and is the highest number witnessed since Inpe records began in 2013.
What’s more, the flames show no signs of stopping. Satellite images have spotted over 9,500 new fires in the last seven days, and many local firefighters have given up trying to extinguish them.