NASA’s latest satellite images show just how massive the wildfires are in the Amazon rainforest. Based on the images, the wildfires have already reached several areas in Brazil.

The fires have been raging in Amazon for three weeks now. Although it has been attributed by the local government to the current weather season, the scale of the wildfires has become very alarming.

Recently, NASA released images of Brazil captured by its satellite. According to the space agency, the satellite images showed smoke and fires breaking out in several states including Rondonia, Mato Grosso and Amazonas.

Amazon Rainforest Fire from Space NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP satellite collected this natural-color image using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on August 21, 2019. Smoke from the fires raging in in the Amazon basin has created a shroud that is clearly visible across much of the center of South America. Photo: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

The agency noted that wildfires usually occur during this time of the year. However, it is not yet clear if this year’s wildfires can still be considered normal.

“It is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low humidity,” NASA said in a statement. “Time will tell if this year is a record-breaking or just within normal limits.”

For most of the year, the Amazon is wet due to the rainy season. The dry season usually begins in July and August, which farmers take advantage of by using fires to clear out or deforest lands. This usually extends until September.

Despite being viewed as a common yearly occurrence, this year’s wildfires are unusual due to their scale. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, around 72,843 fires have been detected in the country. This figure marks an 83% increase compared to last year’s wildfire records, Reuters reported.

President Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing leader of Brazil, has been criticized by the public due to his lack of action regarding the incident. There is also growing concern for his stance regarding the Amazon rainforest, which he aims to develop for mining and farming through deforestation.

When questioned regarding the wildfires destroying the forest, Bolsonaro simply attributed it to the time of the year when farmers use fires to clear lands, which is known as “queimada”.

“I used to be called Captain Chainsaw,” Bolsonaro said according to Reuters. “Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the quiemada.”

Amazon Wildfires This natural-color image of smoke and fires in several states within Brazil including Amazonas, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia was collected by NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on August 20, 2019. It is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low humidity. Time will tell if this year is a record breaking or just within normal limits. Photo: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). Caption: Lynn Jenner