Amazon rainforest drought and deforestation may result in dangerous fireplace season

Amazon rainforest drought and deforestation could lead to bad fire season

Experts say the region has rarely been drier than it is now, and researchers who monitor the Amazon have already spotted a rash of large fires this year. The rainforest’s first major fire of 2021 occurred more than a week earlier than last year, according to Matt Finer, a senior research specialist at the non-profit Amazon Conservation, who leads the organization’s real-time fire monitoring program.

“Widespread drought conditions in 2021 are a worrisome sign that extreme fire risk could affect a large part of South America, straining firefighting resources and threatening ecosystems, infrastructure, and public health,” said Douglas Morton, a NASA Earth scientist who studies fires in the Amazon and surrounding areas.

Most large fires in the Amazon are started by humans on recently cleared land. And deforestation for logging, mining and farming fragments the forest, experts say, making it more susceptible to catching fire on its edges.

“The edge of a forest is warmer and drier than…