Amazon Fires are in…the Amazon

This is a post in reply to Nick Stokes criticism of using the entire Amazon for fire statistics, rather than just using the state of Amazonas.

These are GFED (Global Fire Emissions Database) regions in the Amazon Region (click on region to go to that data). I have added the country of each region, and the numbers of fires, as of Aug 23.

Now, of the 10 regions (don’t’ count “Totals”), 4 are outside Brazil; 3 in Bolivia, and 1 in Peru. I have further broken down each sub region, in this spreadsheet.

Table 1, Regions, Fires and Emissions

Care should be used when quoting Emissions, as per the warnings on the GFED Website, and due to the fact that the totals above do not match the Totals bar chart on the GFED web page.

The state of Amazonas has only 9.8% of total fires in the entire region. The fire per 1000 km2 is second lowest. This ratio of area to fires is about 40% of the ratio for the entire Amazon region. The number of fires is only 4th highest.

Mato Grosso state has the highest number of fires, both as % and as an actual number. It has the 5th highest fires/1000 km2. Yet Nick specifically criticized using this state. Even though it borders on Amazonas State.

If there is a fire problem in the Amazon, it’s actually in Bolivia, specifically Santa Cruz state. Why don’t we hear the condemnation of Bolivia?

But, lets take out Peru and Bolivia and Mato Grosso. Amazonas still has only about 23% of the remaining fires, nearly tied with Rondonia.

Here is a visual of the geographical spread of the fires, from CBC News.

Fig 1; Fires to Aug 23, from CBC

That big area in the Northwest, with relatively few fires? That’s Amazonas. See also that most of the fires in Mato Grosso, are very close to the Amazonas border. (see map below for location of states)

Fig2; Map of South America, from Google Maps

A Google Search of the terms ‘Amazon Fires at Record Number’ returns nearly 300,000,000 hits. ‘Amazonas Fires at Record Number” returns 1/200th that many hits. Even the news sources that use the term Amazonas, do so only in passing, or misleading it as the major cause. This is an example:

Fig 3, News Clipping

See how the news article blames Amazonas for the smoke in Sao Paulo, and ignores the much larger number of fires in the states it mentions; Para and Mato Grosso. The Tweet does as well, though it attributes to another source for the smoke.

My point here, is most of the news mentions “Amazon”, not “Amazonas”. Searching for Rondonia gives 190,000 hits. Searching for Mato Grosso gives 2.48 million. Amazonas gives 1.48 million.

While Amazonas is often blamed for the problem, as in the news clip above, it’s obviously not the only source, and actually has a relatively small contribution of about 10%. Yes, it is near a record number of fires, but so is Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It would be interesting to see what drives this.

It has been suggested to me to only use Amazonas as data for the fires in the Amazon. One Twitter suggested I also only use the years after 2011, because there was drought before that.

If I was so selective in choosing cherries, I am sure I could make a sweet, sweet, cherry pie.

Fig 4, mmmmm. From Pillsbury

Conclusion 1: It’s a big area, with a large demographic spread. Limiting statistics to one single sub-region may help understand that area, but not the larger whole region. Using only 1 sub region to comment on the state of the larger region, is just wrong. It would be just as wrong, to quote Maranhao 2019 numbers as showing that Amazon fires are decreasing. (Even though that is exactly what GFED emissions numbers show.)

Conclusion 2: Two sub regions are near record numbers, but the entire region is very close to average.

Conclusion 3: OK, not a conclusion, a question. How the heck does Bolivia avoid condemnation?

Update 1: Some links on the fires. As Stephen shows, NASA says vast majority of fires are on previously cleared agricultural land.

Update 2: Two from Ryan Maue (who everyone should follow, for weather and climate)

While still an issue, Amazon deforestation has declined nearly 80% in just over a decade.

Update 3: As reported in multiple news sources, this fire season was unremarkable, until mid August. That is when local farmers, in protest against Bolsonaro, declared Dia do fogo (Day of Fire). Hundreds of fires were lit in the following days.

Note: Again, please be specific with criticism, quoting what you disagree with, and why.

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August 24, 2019 6:08 pm

Great summary and explanation. I guess since the number of fires in the western US is way down they have to go elsewhere to get the headlines. There has to be a sophisticated, coordinated group behind this. Never ending.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  rbabcock
August 25, 2019 12:37 am

Not so long ago, say half an hour, BBC News claimed that the California fires were the worst “evva”! Presumably this was an effort to link such events ot AGW. Can anyone shed light on that please, or is it as I suspect, a slight exaggeration on the part of the BBC?

Reply to  rbabcock
August 25, 2019 3:50 am

There are more fires burning in Africa than in Brazil. Ignoring that fact makes all of the attention on Brazil look like a political hit on Bolsonaro.

More Wildfires Are Burning In Angola & Congo Than Brazil

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  icisil
August 25, 2019 6:06 am

icisil – August 25, 2019 at 3:50 am

More Wildfires Are Burning In Angola & Congo Than Brazil

Well now, the above noted wildfires burning in Angola & Congo just adds “insult” to what I have stated below, to wit:

The published article stated:

Total fires in the entire Amazon – to August 23 —- 197,166

My 1st thought was, ….. “WOW”, now that a lot of forest/jungle fires.

And my 2nd thought was, ….. “WHOOPIE”, now that constitutes a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) being outgassed (emitted) into the atmosphere, ….. to wit:

Burning wood is an example of a chemical reaction in which wood in the presence of heat and oxygen is transformed into carbon dioxide, water vapour, and ash.

So, the BIG question is, ……. will the Amazon forest/jungle fires cause a noticeable INCREASE in the spring-summer (May-Sep) CO2 decrease as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory?

Will the Keeling Curve Graph data for the summer of 2019 show a “spike” or ”surge” in CO2 ppm?

And of course, ….. one shouldn’t forget that for every ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 as a result of said “burning”, …… there is an equal DECREASE in the ppm of atmospheric O2.

So, iffen one created a similar “Atmospheric O2 Graph” it would look similar to the KC Graph but opposite “phase” of the biyearly cycling. (CO2 up, O2 down — CO2 down, O2 up)

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
August 30, 2019 5:29 am

The seasonal ups and downs for CO2 are ‘large’ compared to the total atmospheric CO2. At 400+ ppm, CO2 is only .04% of the whole atmosphere.

If you looked at the equivalent ups and downs for oxygen, which is over 20% of the atmosphere, they would appear 1/500th the magnitude. I suppose, if you made the scale on your chart to be 500 times vertically, that you’d see the wiggles, but really, they would be insignificant.

Eduardo Camps
Reply to  icisil
August 25, 2019 7:51 am

You are right. It is a coordenated hit on Bolsonaro.
I am a brazilian citizen and we know that France dont want the EU Mercosul trade agreement.

August 24, 2019 6:11 pm

Once again, Nick Stokes crashes and burns amid a sea of fire date from Les Johnson.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 24, 2019 7:51 pm

Nick will redefine everything, I am sure he is eyeing the definition of fire and madly googling how many BBQ’s were sold in Brazil last year.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 11:06 pm

There is little point in inventing stuff you are “sure” someone is doing but which you have nothing outside you own head to justify, and using that to attack them. How about you wait until Nick Stokes responds and comment on that?

Many thanks to Les for an informative presentation of the data.

How the heck does Bolivia avoid condemnation?

You are not seriously suggesting we should attack a country run by a nice left-wing, coca leaf chewing, indigenous Pres. in the same way we attack a country run by a nasty right-wing, old white male are you?

A C Osborn
Reply to  Greg
August 25, 2019 1:50 am

Absolutely spot on about the Pres!
But you forgot he also doesn’t believe in CAGW.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 11:30 pm

Nick never met data he couldn’t cherry pick his beliefs from. He’s getting as bad as Griff.

Thomas J Waeghe
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 24, 2019 9:17 pm

Is this the same Nick Stokes of CSI?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Thomas J Waeghe
August 25, 2019 5:07 am

I always wondered about that. Did he take the name of the nerdy, metro-sexual police scientist, or was he unfortunate enough to have his name attached to a TV character?

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
August 25, 2019 7:15 am

The latter. He is supposefly a distant relative of a scientifically-important George Gabriel Stokes, who must have rolled-over in his grave enough to cause an earthquake by now.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
September 1, 2019 11:45 am

No, I think he fancies himself a sleuth and took the name from the TV show.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 26, 2019 8:01 am

Usually I dot not agree with Nick Stokes in almost everything and I’m a climate realist, profoundly doubter of all the alarmism surrounding climate, including this Amazon subject. However we have to check the data. The situation is not new and is not also the “worst evaaa” as most alarmists tend to claim. However we must know that all these effects tend to be cumulative and the recover usually is slower than the destruction. From Les’s own sources in the previous article we can read this: “Cumulative active fire detections through 8/22/2019 from MODIS and VIIRS confirm that 2019 is the highest fire year since 2012 (the start of the VIIRS record) across the seven states that comprise the Brazilian Amazon. In addition, fires in 2019 are more intense than previous years, measured in terms of fire radiative power, consistent with the observed increase in deforestation”. Check provided Les source:

Most guys here excited about Bolsonaro (someone even called him a former General (lolololl) do not really know what the guy said in the past and keeps saying. We can have more” left” or “right” ideas about the world and that’s not bad. Diversity make richness, even in ideas. However Bolsonaro is a complete “new thing” to say the least concerning, let’s say, stupidity.

John Tillman
August 24, 2019 6:11 pm

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Bolivian portion of the Amazon basin. The Amazonian departments of Pando, Beni and Santa Cruz rely heavily on agriculture, in which fire plays a big role.

mike the morlock
Reply to  John Tillman
August 25, 2019 12:53 am

John Tillman August 24, 2019 at 6:11 pm
Hi John, there seems to be a bunch of fires in the Chaco are they now farming in that area??


John Tillman
Reply to  mike the morlock
August 25, 2019 8:37 am

Yes, for at least 15 years:

But fire is a natural component of the Gran Chaco system.

Reply to  mike the morlock
August 25, 2019 9:07 am

Chaco is not suitable for farming but there is a lot of natural fires there.

John Tillman
Reply to  tty
August 25, 2019 6:47 pm

It is suitable for ranching and some crops, using modern techniques.

The natural fires have been augmented by charcoal production. Nothing whatsoever to do with “global warming”:

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
August 26, 2019 9:23 am

From 2015, Meat Free Week, because destruction of Gran Chaco woodland:

With photo.

August 24, 2019 6:14 pm

Doesn’t Bolivia have Morales?

Reply to  Mike Bromley
August 25, 2019 9:09 am

Yes, but since he is a leftist and an aymara the fires in Bolivia don’t count.

Mark Broderick
August 24, 2019 6:15 pm

Nice job Les….

August 24, 2019 6:39 pm

“Conclusion 3: OK, not a conclusion, a question. How the heck does Bolivia avoid condemnation?”

Could it be because Bolivia is regarded by the MSM as sacrosanct having elected a socialist party to power, while Brazil is automatically presumed evil, having elected Bolsonaro who is accused of being of the right?

August 24, 2019 6:40 pm

“How the heck does Bolivia avoid condemnation?”

Because it’s not Brazil. This is just another lame attack on the Brazilian government, which had the sheer audacity to go right-wing.

Reply to  MarkG
August 24, 2019 7:47 pm

No Bolivia is not trying to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU, unlike Brazil.

That is the connection to the criticism never attribute to malice what is a cold calculated plan by the French to weaken the position of Brazil in economic dealings.

Reply to  LdB
August 24, 2019 11:25 pm

Interesting angle but if EU wants to impose its climate agenda on Brazil, that is going to mean concessions elsewhere. This actually plays in the opposite sense to what you are suggesting.

At first view it appears that the fires in Bolivia are out of control wildfire quite possibly caused by irresponsible ranchers and farmers trying to clear land. Bolivia is poor and is ill-equipped to tackle large wildfires.

Reply to  Greg
August 25, 2019 11:03 am

“Bolivia is poor and is ill-equipped to tackle large wildfires.”

Socialism tends to do that for you.

Reply to  LdB
August 25, 2019 1:17 pm

There is a suggestion that the French attack on Brazil is actually an intent to derail a trade agreement that would negatively impact the French agricultural industry. Not really about fires – they are just an excuse that Macron knows that the incompetent journalists of the BBC and elsewhere will pick on without any professional due diligence.
A good story but I don’t know if there is any truth in it .

Reply to  MarkG
August 25, 2019 8:44 am

Simple. Because Bolivia is already a socialism and Evo Morales is a good guy, Bolsonaro is a bad guy. /sarc

Socialists get a free pass, they’re pretend victims, and conservatives are oppressors who got their power by evil means according to the narrative.

It could be funny but it is not.

Reply to  MarkG
August 25, 2019 9:30 am

Yep. Bolsonaro was elected to clean up government corruption. He is therefore an enemy to every good Socialist everywhere. So the media blob are suddenly noticing Brazil’s problems even if they have to make them up and even if they have to slur all of Brazil. Same thing happens everywhere in the world to every “right-wing” politician.

James Clarke
August 24, 2019 6:51 pm

Answer to the question: For the media, the issue is never the issue. The only thing that is important to the media is how can the left use events to move their agenda forward. The story of the Brazilian fires has three main themes: the fires are the result of man-made climate change, the fires are the result of greedy capitalists, and the greedy capitalists are being driven to burn by the new conservative president.

If Brazil had a socialist government and peasants and lightning started all of the fires, there would be no story. Since Brazil elected a right-wing conservative President, the country must be demonized. Bolivia has a self-proclaimed socialist president. That is how Bolivia avoids condamnation.

I do not say this flippantly. I worked in the media for 28 years, and I denied that this was happening for a very long time. Now, the evidence is overwhelming. The mainstream media, whether they are aware of it or not, has been molded into the Ministry of Truth for a new One World Order that is seeking control.

It is time for me to reread Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.

Reply to  James Clarke
August 24, 2019 7:07 pm

“The mainstream media, whether they are aware of it or not, has been molded into the Ministry of Truth for a new One World Order that is seeking control.” J Clarke

The media should be careful what they wish for. They might get it… and they won’t like it.

I fail to understand why the slash-and-burn agricultural method of local native tribes in the Amazon rain forest goes ignored. That was documented long ago by National Geographic. It was their way of farming. They moved around constantly, so that one space was not in perpetual use. Has that ended, or is it still going on?

Eduardo camps
Reply to  Sara
August 25, 2019 11:26 am

Still goes on. Not only the natives (tribes) clear the land this way. Poor farmers still work their land this way too.

Reply to  James Clarke
August 24, 2019 7:42 pm

I’m curious James, since you worked in the media – how is it orchestrated? Secret meetings in back rooms, or fear of not fitting in or both, or something else. Comprehending having such a huge number of people creating fake news 24/7 is just beyond me. It is great not to have those genes though – way the better option.

Reply to  philincalifornia
August 24, 2019 8:33 pm

Here’s a hint …

These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies

Reply to  philincalifornia
August 24, 2019 9:35 pm

You do not need orchestration, nor do you need a conspiracy (at least not a widespread one).

In things like this, you have four groups:

1) The manipulators, in it for their own gain (money, power, or both). Among these, you might have a conspiracy – but not not necessarily; they can all be doing the same things without sitting down to coordinate.

2) The true believers, who are not particularly in it for personal gain (although most won’t object to it). This group also might conspire – in my opinion, they are the most likely to – because they believe that anything they do, honest or not, is for “the greater good.”

3) The group that doesn’t believe in the twaddle, or at least most of it – but who look at their families, or their comfortable lifestyle, and know that only hardship will ensue if they do not follow the current direction of the herd.

4) The useful idiots, who think that they believe (but really can’t even identify just what they are believing in). To prove that “I am SO smart!”, they parrot any argument, no matter how idiotic it is, that is put forth by the first three groups.

Now, there are no representatives of Group 1 on this site (Anthony and his moderators have learned to identify them immediately, albeit after some painfully gained experience.) Of the other three groups, we have at least one representative of each that frequently post here. I leave their identification to the reader, though – being able to do so is an essential life skill.

Reply to  Writing Observer
August 24, 2019 11:34 pm

5 The stubborn lot who are always sceptical and take a lot of bleep for pointing out the idiocy of the herd. Rare, but less so here.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 25, 2019 2:36 am

You can tell the hypocracy of the MSM and all the gliterati by their reaction to this and the total lack of criticism of Europe and the UK & Germany in particular over destroying Forests to erect Windmills or to burn in Power Plants and production of Biofuels.
But that is considered OK because it is fighting CAGW and not just trying to feed their own people.

Hot under the collar
Reply to  philincalifornia
August 25, 2019 4:03 am

The BBC have a policy of no platform to anyone who does not follow the climate change religion.

Also, disciples of climate change religion discuss propaganda tactics on social media and will hype any stories in unison on social media, emailing propaganda on mass to news agencies, including complaining about any views allowed in opposition.

Greg "Shark"
Reply to  Hot under the collar
August 26, 2019 1:08 am

Sadly here in South Africa a prominent digital news provider, News24, is trying to do the same thing – deny a platform to anybody or group that has an alternative view to theirs…

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  James Clarke
August 25, 2019 6:57 am

James Clarke – August 24, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Answer to the question: For the media, the issue is never the issue. The only thing that is important to the media is how can the left use events to move their agenda forward.

Being a self-proclaimed Devil’s Advocate, I have to disagree with the above.

The fact is, first and foremost, …… “the issue is the issue” for most all privately published media ….. simply because it is the “issue” that attracts the attention of the reading/viewing populace, otherwise known as “subscribers”.

And it is the subscriber/circulation “numbers” that determine the number of advertisers and advertising rate$. And it is said “advertisers and advertising rate$” that determine if the publisher becomes a millionaire or billionaire.

So, it’s a waste of time to be “badmouthing” publishers, they could care less. Boycotting a publisher is a different story.

It really doesn’t matter how many million$ or billion$ a publisher has if no one is interested in what he/she publishes.

August 24, 2019 7:03 pm

It is politics just like climate change. In fact, Macron and other social oriented celebrities have been using old pictures of the Amazon fires if only to innocently show that there is nothing new on Amazon fires.

August 24, 2019 7:20 pm

Good research and good subsequent comments.

August 24, 2019 8:25 pm

A histogram graph of the GFED data would be a informative plot and a better comparison to the INPE graph. Most of the alarmist news articles have been based on the Brazilian Nation Institute for Space Research data which has been discussed as being an inferior dataset. Actually GFED and the Brazilian INPE data are sort of in agreement just on different scales. GFED goes back to 2004 and the Brazilian INPE plots only go to 2013 and I don’t know how many regions they include. So the INPE data shows a higher number of wildfires since 2013, and 2019 is double 2013. Going back to 2004 in GFED data, the Amazon fires are tracking around average. So both datasets may tell a similar story, but the timeframe is not comparable. At any rate, let’s bring the trend down. INPE histogram graph link is

Reply to  Renee
August 24, 2019 9:16 pm

Adding up just the Brazil region fires comes to 71,558. That’s pretty darn close to what the Brazil National Institute for Space Research showed in their plot. They showed approximately 73,500 fires from January 1 – August 20, 2019.

Reply to  Renee
August 24, 2019 9:44 pm

GFED just posted cum active fire detections through 8/22/2019 from MODIS and VIIRS and are saying it confirms that 2019 is the highest fire year since 2012 (the start of the VIIRS record) across the seven states that comprise the Brazilian Amazon.

Robert W. Turner
August 24, 2019 8:35 pm

Look at those number of fires in a 33X33 km area. Seems like most of the fires might be able to roast a few marshmallows, maybe.

Kevin Balch
August 24, 2019 8:35 pm

Doesn’t Bolivia have a leftist president?

Reply to  Kevin Balch
August 25, 2019 8:46 am

I see I was late with my comment.

August 24, 2019 8:37 pm

According to the Modis data, the number of fires in the Amazon region is about average year to date. There are about half the number we saw in 2016. This is about drumming up dissatisfaction and criticism by the media for a leader that defeated a leftist.

Reply to  Crosspatch
August 24, 2019 10:06 pm

Half compared to 2016, if you include Bolivia and Peru.

Reply to  Crosspatch
August 25, 2019 12:13 am

“There are about half the number we saw in 2016.”
Fires you saw somewhere, but where? A small proportion in the Brazilian rainforest (though it was a bad year). Lots more in Peru and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. These are irrelevant to concerns about the Brazilian rainforest.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 6:10 am

So why did Macron single out Brazil … what he doesn’t like Brazialian BBQ’s?

Mind you his trying to get G7 to talk about gender pay gap and income inequality was pretty funny so maybe he is just a really bad comedian and we all misunderstand him 🙂

August 24, 2019 10:13 pm

“Mato Grosso state has the highest number of fires, both as % and as an actual number. It has the 5th highest fires/1000 km2. Yet Nick specifically criticized using this state. “
Yes, and for that very reason. What this analysis persistently overlooks is that the newspaper articles are specific in their concern. It is fire in the Amazon rainforest. Not in Mato Grosso, or Bolivia. And Amazonas is the heart of the rainforest.

Your table gives the exact reason not to do the arithmetic you use. Amazonas has only 10% of total fires, yet it is a record for the state. Fires in the drier areas are common. That amount of fires in the rainforest is the worry. And trying to show that it is not a worry by presenting a total of which it is only 10% is completely misusing the statistic. When you compare that total for 2019 to a total for 2016, say, as Kip did, you aren’t expressing anything about the Amazon. The reason 2016 was high was because of more fires in the other 90%.

It’s true that people aren’t always very exact in describing the district where the fires are. They don’t need to be; Brazilian rainforest is good enough.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 24, 2019 11:20 pm

This isn’t about destroying the Brazilian rainforest Nick, its about diminishing the issue and apologising for those who do.

Reply to  Loydo
August 25, 2019 4:50 am

It seems that the ones who are complaining most about “destruction of the rain forest” are those with histories of colonialism. Bad habits are hard to break, I guess. Instead of complaining about what Brazil does with its own resources why, don’t the colonialist countries reforest their own agricultural land to compensate for timber loss in Brazil?

Reply to  Loydo
August 25, 2019 7:08 am

Furthermore, how can anyone who wants more “sustainable” energy complain about Brazil logging the rain forest to create more agricultural land to grow sugar cane, which allows Brazil to produce more ethanol, a renewable fuel, than any other country? Brazilian sugarcane ethanol has replaced 46 percent of its gasoline needs.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 24, 2019 11:57 pm

If it is a record number of fires since 2012, doesn’t that context alone make it a non-issue? An honest presentation of the record would be, “the most fires in the last seven years!“ I never hear the record presented honestly, I only hear, “the most fires ever!“

Reply to  Dave Stephens
August 25, 2019 12:06 am

Les Johnson chose this particular satellite based data. It goes back to 2003. But you don’t need a satellite to tell you when there are fires. Fires in the rainforest are a fairly new thing, following exploitation of the land.

John Tillman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 7:57 am


That’s true if by “fairly new” you mean the past several thousand years or more. Traditional agriculture in the Amazon is by slash and burn, shifting cultivation area after the last burned spot is depleted of nutrients.

Rainforest soil laterizes without trees.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 11:14 am

See this is where Nick’s eco imperialism kicks in.

Hungry people and hungry families who are forced into this hard back breaking and often dangerous work are “exploiting”.

Meanwhile people like Nick never have to do a day’s hard graft in their lives.

I’ll pay for a flight, you Nick can go and tell farmers they are exploiting, but I won’t pay the dental bill when they knock your eco imperialist teeth out

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 3:41 am

“It is fire in the Amazon rainforest. Not in Mato Grosso, or Bolivia.”

Wiki says the Amazon rainforest is 2,100,000 sq mi, whereas the state of Amazonia is only 606,468.3 sq mi. Presumably the other two thirds of the rainforest are thus in those other states and countries (Brazil has 60% in total). Presumably there are also very many places where the question of whether prior farmland or rainforest are burning, can’t be distinguished without a case by case analysis.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 5:49 am

Why is it difficult? Natural resources are meant to be used by humans. Lumber for building, land for agriculture; I’m sure your life is better because of those things.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 25, 2019 9:20 am

Nick: northern Mato Grosso is rainforest.

August 24, 2019 11:35 pm

How does this aerosol forecast map that’s been floating around social media compare to your active fires fig. 1? First blush, poor correlation. Perhaps show a generalized high risk wildfire area?

Flight Level
August 25, 2019 2:28 am

Our household does not have a singe TV 📺.

While visiting friends, we were surprised to discover the extend of “the world is on fire” brainwashing administered by German, French and Swiss channels.

And not a single footage of aerial firefighting. I agree that the distances to cover are considerable but Mato Grosso has at least a dozen of perfectly usable airports and even more appropriate for smaller types strips in the region.

IMHO, a correctly operated fleet of high tonnage waterbombers and Turbo Trush class aircraft could make the difference.

However the propaganda somehow prefers to invest a considerable stream of money in brainwashing.

Steve Richards
August 25, 2019 4:41 am

It would be interesting to see how much wood is lost in these “forest” fires compared to the wood lost from cutting in the USA to supply the UK Drax power station.

“With 20,000 tonnes of wood pellets arriving at Drax every day”

The wood is cut, moved, shredded, dried, and compressed into pellets, that then need to be kept dry until burnt in the UK.

The power station giant claims that burning pellets instead of coal reduces carbon emissions by more than 80 percent.
However, Dispatches conducted a simple experiment at a laboratory at the University of Nottingham to compare the carbon dioxide emitted when burning wood pellets, similar to those used by Drax, instead of coal.

It found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal it would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon.

Biomass is viewed as ‘carbon neutral’ under European rules.

Burning wood in power stations is officially carbon neutral, burning wood in forests to make room for crops is bad.

Who knew?

John Tillman
Reply to  Steve Richards
August 25, 2019 6:57 pm

The hydrogen to carbon ratio in hydrocarbons increases from wood to coal to oil to natural gas. Burning methane, as does the US predominantly now, dramatically lowers the carbon content of emissions.

Compare and contrast methane, CH4, with cellulose, (C6H10O5)n.

UK plants switched from coal to “renewable” wood from the US produce more dreaded “carbon” per BTU than they would have from Welsh anthracite.

michael hart
August 25, 2019 5:03 am

“Furore is yet another fraud by enviro activists.”

Steve McIntyre hits the nail on the head once again.

August 25, 2019 5:27 am

Very nice article Les.
Lucid and informative.

August 25, 2019 6:54 am

Among the various fake news circulating on TV and newspapers I think there is the description of the forest as producer of oxygen. I am not an expert but I remember having read that oxygen actually comes from the sea (I suppose via evaporation) and that the trees release oxygen during the day but take it back during the night when they release CO2. No gain in the end. Please confirm that this is right or not, the more you explain the better.
Thanks in advance

Reply to  Regressist
August 26, 2019 8:37 am

You clearly need to read a lot… Please find information about the photochemical and non photochemical phase of plants and respective gase use and production balance. Also, as you might not know for your comments, Oceans produce O2 by the same process – Photosynthesis. What you said to plants also apply to phytoplankton and algae. Considering that we should not have any O2 by now.

Even in Sci-Fy movies (which usually have huge mistakes considering science), to make it understandable to you, you see that in long range travels they use plants onboard and maintain a small ecosystem. If what you said was true that would be a waste of time or was only useful to obtain food.

Plants, generally, are not as efficient as algae in producing oxygen but still are a very important source for it because the production and consumption of oxygen in plants still has a positive imbalance.

Reply to  JN
August 26, 2019 8:44 am

Ok, thanks,
In conclusion it is right to say that forests are a lung for earth. There is a net positive balance between day and night and there is no fake news in this case. Good to know

John Tillman
Reply to  Regressist
August 27, 2019 9:29 am

Most of Earth’s oxygen comes from oceanic phytoplankton. Estimates of their contribution to our oxygen supply range from 50 to 85%. The Amazon thus is far from the world’s lungs.

Even if the oceans produce only half of the planet’s O2, and if the Amazon’s share of land-made oxygen be 25%, that’s only 12.5% of the total.

The oceans are the lungs of the world, and always have been, even after the evolution of land plants.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 27, 2019 1:31 pm

Thanks a lot,
another question if you have time: what percentage of O2 produced during the day is depleted back during the night? Roughly of course, order of magnitude, surely depends on the trees, assume 12 hours of sun, etc.
I appreciate your replies

John Tillman
August 25, 2019 7:48 am

I wonder if the fires aren’t in order to plant soy beans, given the trade war between the US and China.

August 25, 2019 11:37 am

Didn’t I just write a News Brief exposing the fact that “…the majority of these fires were set by farmers preparing Amazon-adjacent farmland for next year’s crops and pasture. Much of the land that is burning was not old-growth rain forest, but land that had already been cleared of trees and set for agricultural use.””.

It wasn’t that long ago that I exposed the larger “World On Fire” nonsense. In that bit of nonsensical alarmism, I showed that the claimed view from space showed the entire Dominican Republic on fire….solid red….when in fact what the satellites were seeing were the intentional traditional burning of the sugar canes fields prior to the harvesting of the canes. In that case, at least one of the “fires” was actually the hot smoke stacks of a cement factory.

Take a look at the Forest Fires Map at Global Forest Watch.

Like the NY Times piece , mentioned above, the map makes it looks like whole countries are on fire. This is an artifact of the size of the dots marking fires. ZOOM IN ON BRAZIL. Zoom in until you can see the Federal District of Brasilia clearly. See how the fires clump together in agricultural areas — sometimes, close enough, you can see that it is a series of local fields or pastures that records fires..

Now, zoom out and find the Dominican Republic — the island of Hispaniola — just to the west of Puerto Rico. Looks awful doesn’t it, island on fire. Zoom in and in and in and you will find that it is not prime cane harvest yet, only a few cane fields burning — all set intentionally as a necessary part of the cane harvest. Some may be rice paddies — where the rice stubble is burnt off after the harvest of the rice and rice straw.

My point here is all these alarming stories require local knowledge and local ground truthing….

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 25, 2019 6:17 pm

I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. If the Amazon rain forest burns down, have another one delivered. With Prime, it can be there the next day.

John Tillman
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 25, 2019 7:14 pm
Brett Keane
August 25, 2019 10:00 pm

All biomes deplete or alter themselves over time. Nutrients shift to the lowest places, to become mines one day for us or tectonics to remobilise for reuse. Nature is wonderful and life is so adaptable.
Not so, useful idiots with an axe to grind……… Brett Keane, BHort etc..

August 26, 2019 12:50 am

I’ll go along with that rather than the usual virtue signalling and drivel –
Sure beats paying for thin air derivatives windmills and solar panels.

August 26, 2019 2:08 am

Can you expend on this comment?

“That is when local farmers, in protest against Bolsonaro, declared Dia do fogo (Day of Fire).”

I have no idea what you are talking about there. Google doesn’t help.

August 26, 2019 10:47 am
Steven Mosher
August 26, 2019 4:45 pm


“Conclusion 1: ….. Limiting statistics to one single sub-region may help understand that area, but not the larger whole region. Using only 1 sub region to comment on the state of the larger region, is just wrong. ”

can I get that framed? There are some temperature discussions I would like to use it in


Earl Hackett
August 27, 2019 6:16 am

Look around the town of Tupana, Amazonas, Brazil using the satellite view to see how the fires are distributed when that image was recorded. The footnote says it was 2019.

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