Antarctica's Fire History
(taken from the previous forum archives)
I was wondering if there is any evidence suggesting that Antarctica has ever had any fire activity (i.e., wildland fires)?
From: Paul Ward, webmaster
In order to have had a fire history, there had to be something to burn, snow and ice are not flammable under normal circumstances! Antarctica was forested millions of years ago before it drifted over the pole so presumably fires were an issue then.
Fire is a major issue now on Antarctic bases and an ever-present danger. In a very dry atmosphere with often very strong winds to fan the flames and little or no liquid water to put out the blaze once it has taken hold, the main thing you can do is get everyone out and stand back. Snow-blowers have been used to try and put fires out, but with little success. Antarctic snow is often very hard and fine and may well blow in the wrong direction.This is one of the main reasons that many Antarctic bases consist of a number of separate buildings that are not interlinked, if one goes up, the other will probably survive.
Last edited by Paul Ward : 12th February 2006 at 09:43 PM.