sao paulo wildfire smoke
© @AndreTheSolo
Brazil's space agency has revealed a record number of fires are burning across the Amazon rainforest as smoke chokes cities across the country.

President Jair Bolsonaro is facing increasing pressure to take action against illegal deforestation fires that have spread across vast areas of the largest rainforest on the planet.

It comes as the city of Sao Paulo was brought to a grinding halt on Monday after choking smoke from fires in the states of Amazonas and Rondonia - almost 3000km away - caused a complete power blackout.

fire map
Smoke from the fires can even be seen from space.

Fears have also escalated for thousands of indigenous tribes forced to flee the latest blazes.

The National Institute for Space Research said its satellite data showed an 83 per cent increase on fire activity for the same period last year, according to the BBC.

It has detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August with more than 9,500 sparked since last week.

Bolsonaro reportedly brushed off concerns about the latest fires telling one news agency the smoke was normal for the "season of queimada" when landowners clear their land.

"I used to be called Captain Chainsaw," he said. "Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame."