News stories even vaguely related to climate change quickly become political, often to the detriment of the news, itself. A good example is the recent story of the fires in the Amazon rain forest. On social media, some people are claiming that these fires are natural and this is actually good for the rain forest. Other posts claim the fires are a combination of Global Warming gone mad and greedy people converting forest to cropland for short-term profit.

So what are the facts?

It is the dry season in the Amazon and huge forest fires are a part of the natural process. However, the fires are considerably worse than usual this year and it is certainly true that a tremendous amount of Amazon forest is converted to crops every year.

Snopes.com has provided proof that some of the images of burning forest circling the web are actually photographs of fires from other years, making terms such as "unprecedented" seem silly. Reality is, as usual, somewhere in-between the rigid and hysterical points of view.

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