Wildfires Around the Arctic Circle Surge

Charlotte Park
Blazing wildfires around the Arctic Circle show the tragic effects of climate change.
An increase in fires is expected during wildfire season, typically a five to seven month period that takes place from summer to fall. Still, the ones burning in the Arctic Circle should be taken seriously, especially when they are happening at such unprecedented magnitudes. These fires have had an enormous impact on human and environmental populations.

Since mid-June, wildfires have destroyed land in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. These fires ignited under a variety of circumstances, including lightning strikes, campfires, and a phenomenon that has resulted in “zombie fires”. When wildfires are put out, they can continue to smolder underground and burn through peat, which is partially decayed vegetation matter. Fueled by methane deposits, when temperatures rise and the soil dries, these zombie fires can re-ignite, creating a vicious cycle of never-truly-ending fires.

Climate change is another cause as places in which the fires have affected the most are experiencing a heatwave or at least elevated temperatures. For instance, the Siberian town of Verkhonyask, considered one of the coldest places on Earth, reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in June. This record is believed to be the hottest temperature north of the Arctic Circle. This hot, dry weather creates perfect conditions for fires to spread easily. 

The effects of these fires have been devastating. It has destroyed millions of acres of land, causing many animals to lose their homes or even die. The fires release toxic pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, as well as large amounts of soot, which can be detrimental to animals and humans if it enters one’s lungs or bloodstream. It is estimated that 244 megatons of CO2 were emitted from January 31st to August 31st, breaking 2019’s emission records, during which only 181 megatons of CO2 were emitted for the whole year. This increase in CO2 emissions contributes heavily to global warming as it exacerbates the greenhouse effect, leading to more thermal energy being trapped.

These fires are trying to be contained with equipment, and some places have declared a state of emergency. However, many believe that not enough is being done. In Russia, plans to not handle fires in uninhabited areas were met with much protest and denouncing of this decision.

Putting out as many fires as possible is the short term plan for dealing with them, but a more long term solution needs to be constructed and enacted. Once these fires subside, new ones will sadly just replace them, resulting in climate change that will invariably cause or contribute to the next fire.


B-Line students write articles that capture what it means to be part of the Barstow community, and record, review and analyze current events.

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    Lucia Scott 

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  • Editors & Writers

    Avani Lakkireddy
    Quinn Luce
    Vineeth Mothe
    Charlotte Park
    Amrit Siam
    Finnian Waldron