This Is What The Amazon Fires Look Like From Space

The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for the past month and new images from NASA give a glimpse at what the devastation looks like from space.

Satellites from the space administration have been tracking thick smoke and high temperatures from the record-breaking fires. According to a recent press release from NASA, surface temperatures in parts of Brazil and Bolivia have exceeded the maximum measurable temperature (220 degrees Fahrenheit) of their instrument's sensor.

The photos, which were taken last week, covered portions of land roughly the size of a football field. The darkened areas show billowing smoke that obscures much of the fire from the satellite's view. The red areas of the images are where the temperature surpassed 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA's #ECOSTRESS instrument captures fires burning in the Bolivian Amazon from space. Although its primary mission is to measure plant🌿health, it can also detect other heat-related phenomena:

RED = Temperatures🌡️ hotter than 220° F, or 104° C

— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) August 28, 2019

The images were captured by NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS). This particular instrument is different from other satellites because it's able to observe multiple areas of Earth at various times throughout the day, which makes it uniquely able to monitor the Amazon fires.

According to NASA, the Amazon rainforest is usually fire-resistant due to its moist and humid conditions. But an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts paired with human activities has led to an increase in the number of fires in the region.

The record-breaking fires have caused global concern, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling them an "international crisis."

World leaders at the G7 summit agreed on Monday to a $20 million aid package to help Brazil and neighboring South American countries fight the Amazon fires. Brazil's president initially rejected the offer but has since accepted the international aid.

But President Donald Trump did not commit to the aid package during the G7 summit. National Security Council spokesman Garret Marquis said on Wednesday that there was a lack of coordination with the Brazilian government and that the president never committed to the deal. Trump also skipped the G7 meeting on climate change and the Amazon.

"The United States stands ready to assist Brazil in its efforts to combat these fires, and did not agree to a joint G7 initiative that failed to include consultations with President (Jair) Bolsanaro," Marquis said in a statement. "The most constructive way to assist is in coordination with the government of Brazil."

Trump praised Bolsanaro for his handling of the fires, despite the international outcry over the Brazilian leader's role in increased deforestation of the region and weakened environmental regulations.

"He is working very hard on the Amazon fires, and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil," Trump wrote on Twitter. "He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!"

amazon fire aerial view brazil
Aerial view of deforestation in the Menkragnoti Indigenous Territory in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on August 28, 2019. Newly released images from NASA show the destruction of the fires from space. Joao Laet/AFP/GettyImages