Zombie Fire

Zombie fires have recently occurred in large parts of the U.S. and Canada triggered by climate change.

What are Zombie Fires?

  • A ‘zombie fire’ is a fire from a previous growing season that can smoulder under the ground which is made up of carbon-rich peat
  • They burn underground and get their name because they continue to burn even after surface fires are put out
  • When the weather warms, the fire can reignite. These are also known as holdover fires.
  • Zombie fires do not produce flame but burns slowly, thus it can be spread deeper into the ground and laterally.

Zombie Fire- A Cause of Concern

  • They can persist through winter, reemerging in the following spring.
  • These fires are difficult to detect and extinguish, making them a challenging firefighting task.
  • As peat fires can make the ground unstable, using heavy equipment to excavate the fire areas also becomes risky.
  • Zombie fires occur in carbon-rich peatlands and can have significant environmental impacts, contributing to climate change and air pollution.

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