As fires decimate swathes of the Brazilian Amazon thousands of blazes are also raging across the neighbouring nation of Bolivia

In 2019, the mass infernos have charred an area nearly as extensive as the nation of Lebanon.

The head of the national forests and lands authority says at least 38,793 fires were burning across the country as of the weekend.

They added that a total of 3,700 square miles, more than two million acres, had been burnt so far this year – most of that in weeks.

Smoke rises from forest in Otuquis National Park, in the Pantanal ecoregion of southeastern Bolivia (afp)

While some of the fires are burning in Bolivia’s share of the Amazon, the largest blazes were in the Chiquitania region of southeastern Bolivia. 

The area is a zone of dry forest, farmland and open prairies that has seen an expansion of farming and ranching in recent years.

It comes as the number of blazes recorded across the Brazilian Amazon has risen 79 per cent this year through August 25, according to Brazil’s space research agency.

Brazil is at the epicentre of the blazes, which the nation’s president has blamed on environmentalists, non-government organisations and the weather. He has also said fires in the Amazon were more prevalent under previous left-wing governments.

Weak rainfall is unlikely to extinguish a record number of fires raging in Brazil’s Amazon anytime soon, with pockets of precipitation through Sept. 10 expected to bring only isolated relief, according to weather data and two experts.

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