Ground peat fires in winter are mostly the result of ground fires that occur during the fire season. In a statement to Izvestia, one of the researchers, İlya Şekerin, noted that the burning continued under the snow and came back to the surface after overcoming the cold. The number of such fires in Russia has increased significantly recently.
According to scientists from the Ural State Forest Technical University, the reason lies in the lowering of the groundwater level, which leads to the drying of the upper layers of peat. A thick layer of snow insulates the combustion from the air, so the fire spreads rather slowly – only a few meters per day.
“Zombie fires” are difficult to detect, so scientists suggest patrolling the area using infrared sensors. In their article in the journal Lesnoy Vestnik, the researchers suggest burning peatlands by bringing an underground quarry to the surface using a bulldozer or similar equipment. After that, the peat is distributed over the surface in a thin layer, mixed with snow and compacted.
After the experimental extinguishing, a new source appeared 100 meters from the surface, and its area did not exceed 40 centimeters. At the same time, the researchers are aware of the limitations of the method: it is difficult to get heavy equipment into hard-to-reach areas.
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