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  1. ITV Report

Area the size of the UK ablaze in Amazon as forest fire numbers soar

  • Video report by ITV News Science Correspondent Tom Clarke

The world's largest, and arguably most important, rainforest is on fire - and has been for weeks.

An 84% increase in forest fires has been reported, compared to the same period last year.

In total, more than 74,000 blazes continue to burn.

Thousands of acres of the Amazon have been turned to charcoal by the blaze - spreading tree to tree, habitat to habitat.

From Space, an area larger than the United Kingdom can be seen alight - but that is not enough to convince Brazil's right-wing leader the environment which dominates his nation's landscape is burning.

Satellite imagery shows the fires burning, as seen in orange.

President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested, without citing evidence, that non-governmental organisations could be starting the fires to make him look bad.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency monitoring deforestation and wildfires, said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year.

Just three weeks ago, its head was sacked by the country's leaders, accused of falsifying data to irk the president.

  • Brazil threatens to burn agreements as Europe axes funding
Smoke can be seen from Space over Brazil as the fires continue to rage. Credit: PA

Brazil's leader has not stood in the way of deforestation in the country.

Mr Bolsonaro has said before that Brazil may pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement on climate change, pushing more industrialisation of the South American nation.

But his government is facing international pressure to protect the vast rainforest from illegal logging or mining activities.

Citing Brazil’s apparent lack of commitment to fighting deforestation, Germany and Norway have decided to withhold funds earmarked for sustainability projects in Brazil’s forests.

French and German leaders have also threatened not to ratify a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur countries to pressure Brazil into complying with its environmental pledges within the Paris declaration.