Starting from mid-August 2019, several media outlets began reporting the massive wild fire in Amazon forest grabbing international attention. Consequently, some netizens started sharing fake, old and misleading photographs of the Amazon forest fire disaster.
From mid-August 2019, parts of the Amazon rainforest are on fire. In fact, because of the massive fire and smoke, the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil went dark on 19th August. The Amazon wildfire sparked an outcry globally. World leaders, celebrities and common people showed their concern on social media sharing alarming pictures. While some posted old photographs of fire from Amazon forest, others were not from Amazon at all.
Amazon Fire Environmental Disaster
Amazon is the largest rainforest on our planet. It is considered as Lungs of our Planet, providing around 20 percent of Earth’s Oxygen. But unfortunately, more than 70,000 fires have decimated the rainforest since the start of 2019, leaving hundreds of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the air. The ongoing fires and smoke are even visible from Space, as of this writing. Generally, natural phenomena like thunder strikes or sparks from falling rocks trigger a forest fire. Other reasons include deforestation and people using flames to clear trees for land.
Amazon forest fires are common in Brazil during the dry season, which normally starts from July to October. But the forest fire numbers are alarming this year in 2019. Amidst the environmental concerns, some old, fake and misleading photographs also appeared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms. Tags like #AmazonFire #SaveTheAmazon #PrayforAmazonas and #AmazonRainForest were trending for days.
Amazon Fire 2019: Fake Photographs
1. During Amazon fire crisis in August 2019, celebrities like Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio and President of France Emmanuel Macron shared the above photograph.
2. YouTube star Logan Paul and many other netizens shared the above photograph of heavy forest fire in Amazon allegedly from 2019.
Again, the photograph of Amazon forest fire in Brazil is not recent and an old one from June 1989.
3. Famous Portuguese football player Cristiano Ronaldo shared the photograph of heavy fire and smoke showing concerns about Amazon rainforest.
This picture is not from Amazon rainforest at all. It rather shows an aerial view of the Taim Ecological Station on fire, in Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil in March 2013.
4. Apart from old and irrelevant pictures, some netizens also shared unreal ones claiming to show alarming scenes of massive fire from Amazon rainforest.
The four pictures above do not show any kind of Amazon fire at all – they are not real fires – and are in fact digital artwork creations.
5. The above photograph of Chimpanzee hugging a man went viral online claiming to show the helpless animal in Amazon forest is pleading the fire brigade worker.
Website banglanewslive.co.in ran a story on Amazon fire in late August 2019 suggesting the Chimpanzee is screaming at a fire brigade worker in Amazon. The featured photograph is however an old one from 2017 not related to Amazon fire. In contrast to the claim, the photograph shows a female gorilla in orphanage copying and playing around her glum keeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.
Although these are some fake, old and unrelated photographs of Amazon, the ongoing massive fire has caused lot of damage. It also endangered lot of animal species in the Amazon rainforest. The concerns expressed globally are also true – such large scale deforestation changes the face of our planet.