In the past year, Brazil has been hit over and over again with devastating forest fires, especially in the Amazon region, so Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts have been blowing up with posts and pictures with the hashtag #AmazonRainforest being the most popular among them.
According to satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in Brazil alone, there are 80 percent more fires in 2019 than there were last year. However, it seems like some of the pictures being shared in relation to the devastation are inaccurate.
More than half of the fires in Brazil are in its Amazon region, and staggering satellite images show just how many fires there are.
Satellite images from NASA and NOAA are giving an accurate portrayal of how far the destructive fire and smoke has spread across the country, but many photos being shared on social media are quite misleading, even if they were meant to be supportive. As a result, users are being asked to stop sharing inaccurate photos, most of which are from fires that happened 30 years ago.
One of these pictures was retweeted over 15,000 times with the caption: “For three weeks, the Amazon RAINFOREST has been burning.
“Fire frequency in Brazil has increased +82% due to droughts, increased heat, and land-use change (logging, industry, & agriculture).”
The following image is actually an Alamy Stock Photo from a climate website called ALERT back in February of this year.
Amazon rainforest fires: All four of these are inaccurate, the top left being California in 2013 (Image: TWITTER)
This second post that included four photos was uploaded to Twitter with a caption bemoaning Brazil’s tragedy, but actually none of the photos have anything to do with the August 2019 Amazonian fires.
The top left photo was liked on Twitter over 4,500 times but was taken during a forest fire in California and uploaded to the US Department of Agriculture’s Flickr account back in 2013. The second is from a 1989 Amazon forest fire, according to The Guardian.
The third picture is from the same 1989 fire, and the fourth image is a heat map from InfoAmazonia showing the extent of forest fires in the Amazon from 2000-2014.
Kendell Jenner retweeted another viral post to her more than 28 million followers, but neither of the two photos are actually related to the recent forest fires.
The image on the right is a picture of fire in Serbia, while the left was taken by photographer Daniel Beltrá in 2014 for articles on fires in Sweden.
Yet another image captured for Getty by Lauro Alves posted on Wednesday shows a fire at Brazil’s Taim Ecological Station in 2013.
Lastly, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio shared an image of fires burning against a wall of green forest, but this photo is originally from February 2018 in the article, “Carbon emissions from Amazon wildfires could ‘counteract’ deforestation decline”.
So, beware of the misleading pictures and check the sources before you believe what you see!