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'Zombie fires' in Canada: Fires from last year are still burning under the snow

Dozens fires that started last year are still burning underground in the west to this day Canada. In accordance with French Agencythis year's high number of these “zombie fires,” combined with relatively low snow levels exacerbating ongoing drought conditions, has experts fearing the scale of wildfires that could break out this year.

Even though it is winter, the a lack of snow this year is exacerbating ongoing drought conditions, leaving Canadians already bracing for another brutal wildfire season. “We're going through an unusual winter after an unusual summer,” said Josee St-Onge, a spokesman for Alberta firefighters.

It's a fight that never ends. Even in freezing temperatures, Canadian firefighters still are working hard to fight almost 150 fires.

This year there are 10 to 12 times more “zombie fires” in western Canada than usual. They burn below the surface of the boreal forest during the winter, supported by layers of dried peat and organic matter.

Extinguishing them is a laborious process. They are difficult to detect, as they produce only thin columns of smoke, and require deep digging of the soil to reveal the humus, the slow-burning layer of decaying leaves and other compacted plant material.

In Alberta, the government on Tuesday declared an early start to the fire season, which normally begins on March 1. In addition to last year's “zombie fires,” authorities are also dealing with new fires that started this year.

Source: News Beast

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