Brazil's Amazon rainforest has experienced a record number of wildfires this year. Statistics maintained by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) based on satellite data show that 80,626 fires were detected across all of Brazil between January 1 and August 26, 2019, a 78 percent increase on 2018. The Amazon accounts for about half of the territory where the fires are burning. Smoke from the fires blotted out the sun in Sao Paulo on August 19th, plunging the city into darkness.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been heavily criticized for his environmental policies, dismissed the data, stating that it is the queimada season, a time in which farmers clear their land with fire. Scientists have stated that deforestation has accelerated since Bolsonaro took office in January.