Wildfires in Greenland!
Yes, there are currently not one but TWO unusual fires currently burning on the giant icy island. Unprecedented!
How can you imagine a fire on Greenland as three-quarters of the island is covered by a permanent ice sheet, and permafrost is found on most of the rest of the island. This is why it is very unusual, and possibly unprecedented, that two wildfires are burning on the giant island.
The fires are near Sisimiut in Western Greenland north of the Arctic Circle. They were first spotted from an airplane on August 3, 2017.
These fires appear to be peatland fires, as there are low grass, some shrub, and lots of rocks on the western edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. They are likely occurring in areas of degraded permafrost.
The European Union Earth Observation Programme has stated that wildfires in Greenland are rare but have no data on previous wildland fire activity in this region.
While it is not unprecedented for satellites to observe fire activity in Greenland, a preliminary analysis suggests that MODIS has detected far more fire activity in Greenland in 2017 than it did during any other year since the sensor began collecting data in 2002:
It is not clear what triggered the fires. Sisimiut, the second largest town in Greenland, has a population of 5,500 people. Lightning or PEOPLE? 10 days ago, another pilot discovered mysterious steam coming out of the ice layer of Greenland.