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Global Warming and the Great Canadian Fire

According to the New York Times (11 May '16), for decades scientists have been warning that climate change is a threat to the immense tracts of forest that ring the Northern Hemisphere. The great fire at Fort McMurray, in Canada is an indication of that risk.

Global warming is suspected as a prime culprit in the rise of these [forest] fires. The warming is hitting northern regions especially hard: Temperatures are climbing faster there than for the Earth as a whole, snow cover is melting prematurely, and forests are drying out earlier than in the past. The excess heat may even be causing an increase in lightning, which often sets off the most devastating wildfires.

More such fires are anticipated by Canadian forest experts. One explanation: "an earlier melting of the spring snowpack across the Northern Hemisphere. It "leads to a drying of the landscape early in the fire season. The resinous trees of the boreal zone become more susceptible to fire, and lightning sets off intense fires that are nearly impossible to control." (Boreal forests are described as snow forests and mostly pines, spruces and larches. The boreal zone exists in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Alaska and Canada.)

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