Numerous parts of the Amazon Rainforest had been burning since May 2019. As of July 2019, 469 900 hectares of rainforests had been lost to the fires, with 225 500 hectares of forests being burnt in July alone. On 12 August 2019, the state of Amazonas, Brazil, declared a state of emergency over the rising number of forest fires. On 14 August 2019, the smoke billowing from the fires covered an area almost the size of the European Union.
Rains swept across fires in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest much earlier than meteorologists anticipated. Unfortunately, fires returned as farmers and ranchers continued to set the forests alight.
- Fires across the Amazon Rainforests started by people to expand cattle-ranching, soybean farming, and other agribusinesses
- As of July 2019, 469 900 hectares of rainforests — a size bigger than Switzerland — had been lost to fire
- Rain sufficient enough to put out the Amazonian forest fires was forecasted to only arrive in October 2019
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While the worsening Amazon drought exacerbated the fires, most of the fires in the Amazon were believed to be started by people intent on clearing the land for cattle ranching, soybean farming, and other agribusinesses. President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was also blamed for undercutting conservation efforts and encouraging ranchers, farmers, and corporations to further exploit the rainforest due to his pro-business stance. Pressured by world leaders who considered the fires in the Amazon an “international crisis”, the Brazilian Government dispatched 44 000 troops to combat the wildfires on 24 August 2019.
Unfortunately, rain forecasts in the region were not encouraging. Rain across a period of 15 days would only be concentrated in areas that need it the least, while less rain was expected in parts experiencing the worst fires. Maria Silva Dias, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, said, “The whole area needs it to rain more regularly, and this will only happen further down the line, around October.”
Kyrios was alerted to the crisis and decided to begin intervention on 14 August 2019. Kyrios said that the two world’s largest rainforests – Amazon and Congo rainforests – function as the lungs of the world, and damage to the rainforests would result in severe consequences for the rest of the world. Concurrently, Kyrios was also intervening in several wildfires across the Arctic Circle as well as in Spain, Australia and Africa.
Why did Kyrios intervene? Kyrios explains the disastrous implications of the continued burning of rainforests
The Amazon Rainforest houses vast quantities of dense vegetation, and they are responsible for producing a significant portion of the Earth’s surface oxygen and negative ions while absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Kyrios explained that the symbiotic relationships of the trees and the soil beneath offer a system akin to air purification as the active surface soil layers absorb impure air and release clean air and excess heat. Rainforests experience large quantities of rainfall every year due to evapotranspiration of broadleaf vegetation found in the forests, and the moisture from the rain cools planet Earth from the surface to its core, bringing moisture deep into the soil layers and across the regions surrounding it.
If the forests are destroyed, the natural systems and functions that the forests play in regulating the surface and core temperatures of the Earth would be hindered. Firstly, as scientists have repeatedly alluded, the destruction of trees would increase carbon emissions and reduce the forests’ ability to sequester atmospheric carbon. Additionally, Kyrios reasoned that as a result of forest fires and the loss of plant cover and trees, the soil loses its heat-releasing gaseous exchange function and becomes inactive. The buildup of excess heat in the soil layers will travel laterally across the Earth crust and downward into the mantle and core. The reduction in evapotranspiration due to reduced tree cover would reduce the rainfall, and reduce the moisture that is needed to cool the soil layers and the deeper layers within Earth.
The result is a build up of heat in not only the atmospheric level but also the unseen layers beneath the surface of the Earth, such as the core and the mantle. This leads to a disequilibrium that causes the planet to release excess heat trapped in the Earth’s inner layers through geologic means. Kyrios mentioned that volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, hot springs, and geysers serve as a means for the Earth to release excess heat from its core and mantle. Thus, this disequilibrium state will lead to an increase in the frequency and magnitude of volcanic eruptions. Increasing magmatic movement due to the heat trapped beneath the mantle will also lead to an increase in tectonic and seismic activity, meaning more frequent earthquakes and tsunamis with increasing magnitude.
This is in addition to the worsening climate-related disasters as the intensifying global heating causes long-term effects to ice cover worldwide as well as oceanic and air currents across the world. Weather-related disasters such as seasonal heatwaves and intensifying tropical cyclones, and other related catastrophes will occur more frequently. Kyrios warned that if deforestation and the burning of rainforests continues, droughts will become commonplace, and heatwaves across the world may reach scorching temperatures of 50-80 degrees Celsius.
In lieu of the disastrous consequences that Kyrios foresaw, Kyrios urges everyone and world leaders to take better care of the world’s natural systems and not to overexploit Earth’s resources to satisfy personal interests. Kyrios stressed the need for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting meatless diets as livestock rearing strains the Earths’ natural systems and that the Amazon Rainforest is currently being destroyed to make way for cattle ranching.
How did Kyrios contain the wildfires in the Amazon Rainforest?
Kyrios initiated a series of interventive efforts beginning on 19 August 2019 to alleviate fires in the Amazon Rainforest by influencing the weather around the region and causing rain to fall over the fire sites. Between 31 August 2019 to 6 September 2019, persistent and concentrated precipitation ensued over the central and southern reaches of Amazon rainforests where the fires were most intense. The rains brought on by Kyrios had contradicted meteorological forecasts which forecasted that “rains would be concentrated in areas that need it least for the next 15 days following 28 August 2019”. By 6 September 2019, most of the fires in the Amazonian heartlands were put out.
However, along the fringes of the Amazon Rainforest, some fires persisted while new hotspots began to appear again after Kyrios’ intervention ended. A closer look at satellite imagery showed that the fires were mostly burning along the perimeters of farmed lands, a visible indication of ongoing slash-and-burn activities where forests were being set ablaze to clear land and make way for agriculture, livestock, logging, mining, etc.
This observation can be confirmed by Paulo Artaxo, an atmospheric physicist at the University of São Paulo, who told Science Magazine that, “The blazes are surging in a pattern typical of forest clearing, along the edges of the agricultural frontier. There is no doubt that this rise in fire activity is associated with a sharp rise in deforestation.” Historical data show the two phenomena are closely linked: Chainsaws lead the way, followed by flames, and then cattle or other forms of development.
Why didn’t Kyrios continue intervention after 6 September 2019?
While Kyrios can bring rains to help put out large scale wildfires that are out of reach by firefighters, Kyrios said that efforts to put out the human-induced fires at the Amazon will be counterproductive if people continue to act irresponsibly and indiscriminately burn the forests. People must understand that the root causes of disasters lay in human hands. Without a cessation in deforestation activities, humanity’s survival and well-being will always be in danger. A united effort to conserve and reforest the rainforests is necessary to reduce disasters globally.