RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The number of forest fires in Brazil increased by 82 percent from January to August in 2019 compared to the same period last year, the country's National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said on Monday.
According to Inpe, 71,497 forest fires were registered in the country in the first eight months of 2019, up from 39,194 in the same period in 2018.
Five states suffered more forest fires this year. The number of forest fires in the mid-western state of Mato Grosso soared by 260 percent than last year, which is responsible for almost 20 percent of all the forest fires registered in the whole country from January to August; the number of forest fires in Rondonia, Para and Acre in the northern region grew by 198 percent, 188 percent and 176 percent respectively; Rio de Janeiro in the southeastern region saw a 173-percent growth.
Alberto Setzer, a researcher at Inpe, said that all the fires are results of human activity, some of which are accidental while others intentional.
"Ignition is essential for a forest fire, and this central Brazil and south of the Amazon Rainforest region has been undergoing a prolonged draught; there are some places where there has not fallen a drop of rain for three months," Setzer told local news site G1.
The sharp rise in the number of forest fires caused strange phenomena in several regions in Brazil earlier on Monday.
By mid-afternoon in places like Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo, which is thousands of kilometers away from the forest fires area in the Amazon rainforest, the sky was dark as if it were night, covered by a thick "fog". The "fog" -- scientists said -- was partially caused by the smoke from the midwestern region carried by the wind.