Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has accused environmental groups of setting fires, international news media outlets have reported.

According to the reports, the skies darkened over San Paulo, Brazil, for an hour Monday afternoon after winds carried smoke from about 1,700 miles away.

Dramatic images and videos on social media show giant plumes of smoke rising from the greenery and the hashtags Pray for Amazonas and Amazon Rainforest started trending on Twitter soon after.


Environmental groups blame Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, for the endangerment of the vital rainforest as they accused him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and encouraging deforestation.

The scientists have warned that the increasing number of fires will strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.

The research data shared from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows that Brazil has seen 72,843 fires this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, making it an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.

The Amazon is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, as it produces 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and is considered vital in slowing global warming.

It is the largest rainforest on the planet and is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora.