Record number of fires burning in Brazil rainforest

(Photo via NBC News)

SAO PAULO, Brazil (WTHR/NBC News) — Wildfires in the Amazon Rainforest are burning at a record rate.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) says its satellite data shows an 84 percent increase in the number of fires compared to the same time last year.

The organization has detected more than 74,000 fires so far this year.

The unprecedented surge in wildfires has occurred since Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office back in January, vowing to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, ignoring international concern over increased deforestation, according to NBC News.

Bolsonaro suggested that non-governmental organizations could be setting them to make him look bad.

"Maybe — I am not affirming it — these (ONG people) are carrying out some criminal actions to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil," Bolsonaro said in a video posted on his Facebook account. "This is the war we are facing."

The states that have been most affected this year are Mato Grosso, Para and Amazonas — all in the Amazon region — accounting for 41.7 percent of all fires.

Filed under: