Wildfires rage in the Amazon

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:24 p.m. ET, August 23, 2019
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12:50 p.m. ET, August 22, 2019

This is what the Amazon wildfires look like from space

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Obtained by Maxar / ESA
Obtained by Maxar / ESA

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:

Obtained by Maxar / NASA
Obtained by Maxar / NASA

12:50 p.m. ET, August 22, 2019

You can probably blame humans for these wildfires

From CNN's Jessie Yeung

The Amazon is burning — and humans are likely to blame.

Environmental organizations and researchers say the wildfires blazing in the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land, emboldened by the country's pro-business president.

"The vast majority of these fires are human-lit," said Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch. He added that even during dry seasons, the Amazon — a humid rainforest — doesn't catch on fire easily, unlike the dry bushland in California or Australia.

Farmers and ranchers have long used fire to clear land, said Poirier, and are likely behind the unusually large number fires burning in the Amazon today.