Amazon Rainforest Fire: The Story Behind It


Due to the demand for cattle in Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to his people that he will continue the agricultural gain by expanding land and burning the Amazon. The cause of this deforestation is for farms and ranches to produce more animals to butcher.

As many of you may or may not know The Amazon is being shrouded in plumes of smoke as fires rage across parts of the rainforest, imperiling the so-called “lungs of the planet” and the vast array of life to which it is home. Visible from outer space, the smoke billows have prompted international alarm, calls for action and much finger-pointing what, or who is responsible for the burning. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in particular, has come under intense scrutiny for his controversial stewardship of Brazil’s majority share of the rainforest.

Professional Point of View

From a professional Viewpoint from the world, the recent actions of the Brazilian Government have been sought out in negative fashion, which is understandable since The Amazon provides 20% of the Earth’s Oxygen.

According to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), About 76,000 fires were burning across the Brazilian Amazon at last official count, an increase of over 80 percent over the same time period last year.

In the same article as the previous sentence, which was from National Geographics states “So far in 2019, the number of fires burning across the Amazon is higher than at any point since 2010, which was a particularly bad year of drought, says Ruth DeFries, an expert on sustainable development at Columbia University. By last week, about 7,000 square miles of the forest was in flames, an area just smaller than the size of New Jersey. Most fires observed in the region are caused by humans. Many are set in previously cleared lands in order to quickly remove any

 excess vegetation that has popped up. Others are set in a land that is still in the process of being cleared, in order to make more open land for crops or cattle. Farmers and ranchers down forest earlier in the year and leave the felled trees to dry out. Once the fallen trees have desiccated, they set them on fire, leaving behind an open swath of land ready for agricultural activity.” said Alejandra Borunda, the author of this article.

Her idea is that the fires have increased, no doubt about that, from the week that the article was originally posted. These farmers are cutting down trees and burning then so they remove any access vegetation so the land is ready for more agricultural activities.

There are speculation and fear that this deforestation is caused by the current elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who promised agricultural gain and activity in the amazon. Under Bolsonaro, forest protections have been weakened and enforcement of illegal logging has weakened. The fires burning across the region and choking downwind communities are an all-too-visible manifestation of the deeper issue, says DeFries, a contributor to the National Geographic article.

Within Leyden

Within The Leyden School, many people scour the vast lands of the internet, but many people still don’t know anything about certain topics. For a major example take this event. I asked multiple people if they have heard what was happening and a decent chunk said they didn’t. Some said they did but had no other context to provide on the situation. So in the sights of finding something about the story, I reached out to one of Leydens Science teachers, Mr. Pozen, who teaches Biology and manages the Biology Club at East Leyden High School.

“What is your political stance?” and “What do you hope happens?”

“Politically I’m mixed, because I understand that the people who live there want to use what they have, the resources to make an income and living, stuff like that, buts its really bad for the planet overall and from what I understand most people in Brazil don’t want that but they’re kinda in a loss to stop it. Generally I’m hoping other countries are stepping up and encouraging the Brazilian Government to be more favorable to put the fires out because its something people are doing and is still going on, and it’s just going to keep on getting worse, eventually it can destroy the Amazon rainforest and that’s gonna have an effect on everyone on the planet.” 

Also, we reached out to one of the students with the same questions

“What is your political stance?” and “What do you hope happens?”

“It is their own country, they should be able to do what they want with their land. They’re doing it to make a living and to get more land. There are probably better ways of doing that than to burn the Amazon Rainforest. I do hope they stop since the Amazon is one of the major sources of our oxygen, and without it, the Earth can fall into a panic”. 

What We Can Do?

Some of the basic responses would be plant a tree, but I believe you can do so much more, for example:


  • Social Media, Tweet something to make people informed.
  • Write a complaint letter to the government.
  • Go the media and convince them to do more news stories on this subject.
  • Get the word out to everyone you know


If we put our ideas together we can accomplish something! This event is a huge consequence for the rest of the world. The Amazon rainforest produces huge amounts of oxygen. Its vegetation holds on to billions of metric tons of carbon that could oxidize into heat-trapping gases. We need to save and nurture it, not destroy it.