Climate change could make overwinter ‘zombie’ fires more common

20th May, 2021

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Smoke rises from a wildfire south of Talkeetna, Alaska, in 2019. Photograph: Lance King/Getty Images


In the boreal forests of the far northern hemisphere, where the climate is warming faster than almost anywhere else, some wildfires are surviving winter snows and picking up again in spring. Now scientists from the Netherlands and Alaska have figured out how to calculate the scope of those “zombie fires” that smoulder year-round in the peaty soil.

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