GLOBAL

Icy Hot: Why Is Greenland Burning?

Aug 14, 2017 at 10:24 AM ET

In Greenland, the land of ice and snow, a wildfire has consumed the western part of the country. But why?

Although ice covers 80 percent of the island, the wildfire in western Greenland has burned at least 3,000 acres. It’s the latest wrinkle in a year that’s seen a huge spike in fire activity throughout the country.

Melting ice and rising temperatures don’t help, in addition to peat moss drying out. When the peat dries out, it helps fuel the smoldering fires, which is especially bad since the moss releases higher amounts of carbon dioxide.

Scientists aren’t directly pinning the fires on climate change just yet, but as ice melts, new threats could emerge across the Arctic.