The Amazon is being shrouded in the plumes of smoke as fires rage across parts of the rainforest, imperiling the so-called "lungs of the planet" and the vast array of life to which it is home.
Visible from outer space, the smoke billows have prompted international alarm, calls for action and much finger-pointing over what, or who, is responsible for the burning.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in particular, has come under intense scrutiny for his controversial stewardship
Al Jazeera answers some of the major questions being asked about the Amazon crisis, one of the Earth's greatest natural treasures.
Where are the fires?
across a range of states in Brazil's section of the Amazon rainforest.
Northerly Roraima down through the Amazonas, Acre, Rondonia and Mato Grosso do Sul have all been badly affected.
Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires in Brazil since August 1
From the other side of Earth, here's the latest on Amazonia fires 1965
Produced by @CopernicusEU 's atmosphere monitoring service, it shows the smoke reaching the Atlantic coast and Sao Paulo 1965
DATA HERE ▶https: //t.co/Q6qzFdPfIT pic.twitter.com/aJKU2YwRpJ
– WMO | OMM (@WMO) August 20, 2019
Amazonas, Brazil's largest state, declared a state of emergency on August 9 while Acre has been on environmental alert since August 16 due to the fires.
Several other countries in the Amazon region have also seen surges in fires this year, according to INPE data, including Bolivia and Peru, which both border Brazil.
A record number ?
The INPE recorded nearly 73,000 fires in Brazil between January and August this year – the highest since INPE records began in 2013 and more than 80 percent bumped into the figure for the same period last year. Meanwhile, most of them were in the Amazon.
Meanwhile, as of August 16, a NASA analysis suggested that "total fire activity across the Amazon basin was close to the average in the comparison to the past 15 years." NASA noted that Amazon spreads across several countries.
It also added, "though the actvity appears to be above average in the states of the Amazonas and Rondonia, it has a far-appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Para."
What's causing them?
Fires are a regular and natural occurrence in the Amazon at this time of year, during the dry season.
But environmentalists and non-governmental organizations have attributed the record number of fires to farmers setting the forest alight to clear land for pastures and to loggers razing the forest for its wood, with INPE itself ruling out natural phenomena being responsible for the surge.
Critics say far-right President Bolsonaro's weakening of Brazil's environmental agency, IBAMA, and pushing open the Amazon region for more farming and mining has emboldened such