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/ Source: TODAY
By Laura Ratliff and NBC News

The widespread fire engulfing South America’s Amazon rainforest isn't just a problem for Brazil's ecosystem.

The vast Amazon — which spans more than eight countries and is home to the world’s most diverse wildlife — has been under siege. Experts believe fires purposely set to clear land for cattle grazing and other agricultural purposes are, in large part, to blame.

Destruction of just three percent more of the sprawling rainforest could affect the U.S.

Weather patterns could be affected throughout the Midwest, where corn, soybeans and other cash crops are grown. On the West Coast, the likelihood of wildfires could increase — bad news after an already record-setting fire season.

A string of protests around the world, from London to Brazil, have forced the government to step in, in an attempt to quell the damage. Brazil’s president has sent military planes in to dump fire on the blaze, while a firefighting supertanker plane sent from California is dumping 17,000 gallons of water on the fire every hour.