Blackened tree trunks lay smoldering on the charred ground as thick smoke chokes the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, a scene of devastation that is being repeated across the “lungs of the planet.” In the northwestern state of Rondonia — one of the hardest hit areas by the worst fires in years.
Brazilian warplanes are dumping water on the burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia, responding to a global outcry over the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Seen from above, the destruction is dramatic: walls of bright orange flames advance across the expansive forest as huge plumes of black smoke billow into the sky.
Swathes of forest have been stripped of vegetation in apparent preparation for burning. Journalists travelling by road and air in the state bordering Bolivia have seen others on fire or already burned to a crisp.
In some places, a single tree has been left standing, surrounded by scorched earth — a testament to the destruction of a forest the WWF says is home to hundreds of threatened animal and plant species.
The response comes as leaders of countries in the Group of Seven (G7) nations currently meeting in France expressed grave concerns over the fires.
More than half of the 79,513 fires recorded in Brazil this year are in the Amazon, and 1,130 were started between Friday and Saturday.