California's Largest Wildfire Out Of Control As Fires Rage Across U.S. Pixabay/ Camera-man

The deforestation statistics in Brazil's Amazon rainforest reached a record high in October after 903.86 square kilometers (348.98 square miles) were cleared in the region last month.

According to the preliminary government satellite data collected by space research agency Inpe, about 903.86 square kilometers (348.98 square miles) were cleared in Brazil's Amazon region in October. This is the highest for the period since tracking began in 2015 and is up 3.1% year-on-year, Yahoo News reported.

Meanwhile, from January to October of 2022, about 9,494 square kilometers were cleared in the Amazon. This is equal to an area more than 12 times the size of New York City. This also set a record for the amount of land cleared in Amazon in this period, exceeding the previous high set in 2019 by 12.7%.

Incoming leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will take over on Jan. 1 from far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, has promised to curb deforestation in the Amazon by bolstering law enforcement, Al Jazeera reported.

Bolsonaro reportedly rolled back environmental protections during his time in office and pushed for more mining and other development projects in the Amazon, saying they would stimulate the economy. The rainforest saw years of increased deforestation under the administration of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro.

Annual statistics that were released last year showed that deforestation had already surged to a 15-year high under Bolsonaro.

Meanwhile, Lula, in a victory speech after defeating Bolsonaro, said that Brazil was “ready to resume its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis.” He also has pledged to “fight for zero deforestation”, especially by protecting the Amazon.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said that the increase in Amazon deforestation in October was expected. However, they added that the preliminary data for the first days of November is terrifying.”

Mariana Napolitano, WWF-Brasil's science manager, said she already expected deforestation to spike during the transition period and highlighted how fire alerts have rocketed since the election was declared in Lula's favor on Oct. 30.

"Those who profit from illegality noticed there is still an opportunity window opened but it's about to close. Those figures are really scary," she said.

The burning season in the Amazon usually occurs between August and September of every year. However, fire alerts in the Amazon in the first ten days of November have nearly matched those reported in all of that month in 2021.

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