Amazon wildfires

How have the fires in the Amazon affected people’s lives and how can they adapt?

Firefighters spray water on fires in the Amazon rainforest
Lesson plan
PSHE, Tutor time
Disasters and emergencies, Newsthink

The Amazon rainforest in South America is one of the most important environments on Earth.

It is not just a vital resource in regulating the climate and filled with a vast range of animals and plants, but is also home to hundreds of thousands of indigenous people. These people rely on the forest to provide their food, shelter and most of what they need to survive.

But this precious resource is under threat. Fires are common in the dry season between July and October, but in 2019 there were more fires than ever before – an estimated 74,000 fires between January and August, which is a more than 80% increase on 2018. Thousands of these fires have started on protected or indigenous land.

Learning objectives

Learners will:

  • discuss the human causes of destruction of the Amazon rainforest
  • explore the role of the Amazon in the lives of indigenous people 
  • understand how the destruction of the Amazon can affect people’s lives.

Resource overview

1. Photo activity: The Amazon is burning

Using photos, learners will explore the role of the Amazon in people’s lives and the impact the wildfires are having. 

2. Extension activity: Persuasive writing

Learners write persuasive texts to explain the situation and encourage empathy and action.


This activity was written by Nick Hunter and published in September 2019.

The image of indigenous people training with firefighters so they can fight fires on their lands. © Paulo Whitaker/Reuters.