Amazon wildfires spread, with 72,843 detected so far this year

Fires continue to consume swathes of the normally lush Amazon, killing animals and leading to respiratory illnesses according to the leader of an indigenous group in Brazil's Rondonia state.

Wildfires raging in Amazon rainforests have jumped this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil's space research centre INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy.

The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday (August 27), and is the highest since 2010.

Bolsonaro's stance has come under intense scrutiny as images of the burning Amazon have sparked international concern about the consequences for global warming.

Through July, destruction of Brazil's rainforest is up 67% compared to the same period a year ago, according to preliminary data released by the country's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Nearly 80,000 fires have been recorded this year through Aug. 24, the highest level since at least 2013, INPE says.