Questions for “‘Zombie’ wildfires can reemerge after wintering underground”

smoke billows up behind a row of trees

A forest fire burns in the distance here in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Zombie fires, which smolder underground all winter long — and out of sight — could increase as climate change accelerates in Alaska and other parts of North America.

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To accompany “Zombie’ wildfires can reemerge after wintering underground


Before Reading:

1.  What are wildfires and what usually triggers them? How long can they burn and how big can they get?

2.  What is another term for a zombie?

During Reading:

1.  What are zombie wildfires and how did they get that nickname?

2.  What was the new “pattern” that suggested the possibility to Rebecca Scholten’s team that some northern fires are “zombies”?

3.  What second pattern did they observe that hints at when and where such zombies might emerge?

4.  Why do the researchers suggest the zombie threat could grow with climate change?

5.  Why does Jessica McCarty argue that the new analysis “is a really welcome advance” that could help in managing fire risks?

After Reading:

1.  The researchers describe the zombies as developing in forested lands of the far North. Why do you think that is? Explain what would make them less likely to show up farther south.