The risk of fires in the Peruvian Amazon increases because of droughts, the construction of new roads, and people moving out of the rainforest and into the city.
Fire risk is increasing in the Amazon as a result of warmer, drier conditions related to a warmer tropical Atlantic Ocean.
More roads are being built throughout the forest. These new roads attract large-scale agriculture operations and cattle ranches that often use fire for land-clearing.
Scientist Maria Uriarte recently reported a new reason for increased fires: people moving out of the Amazon rainforest and into the cities.
Many farmers use controlled burns as a part of their farming technique to clear land and dense understory growth. They often coordinate with neighboring farms to control these fires.
Fewer farmers mean it is more difficult to control these fires. There are also less people around to report fires that get out of control.
Fires in the Amazon are a global concern. Even small fires release large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) that were once stored in the trees and plants. Also, after just 2-3 fires, Amazon rainforest can turn into savanna grassland.
Maria Uriarte suggests some possible solutions for these fires: setting up an early warning systems for vulnerable places and communities, creating rewards for people who stay in rural areas, and encouraging ranchers and farmers not to use fire on their lands.
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