How melting Arctic ice could be fueling extreme wildfires in the Western U.S. As Western wildfires get more destructive, scientists are finding a far-off connection to shrinking ice on the Arctic Ocean.

How melting Arctic ice could be fueling extreme wildfires in the Western U.S.

How melting Arctic ice could be fueling extreme wildfires in the Western U.S.

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As the climate gets hotter, the Arctic is spending more days as open ocean. Sea ice is shrinking. It's breaking up earlier in the spring and forming later in the fall. Kathryn Hansen/NASA hide caption

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Kathryn Hansen/NASA

Above the Arctic Circle, the community in Kotzebue, Alaska, is watching sea ice disappear as the climate gets hotter. In the Western U.S., firefighters are battling increasingly explosive wildfires driven by hot, dry weather.

Scientists are finding these two extremes could be connected, a sign of how melting ice is causing ripple effects across the planet. You can see images and video from Alaska and California in our visual interactive.

This story is part of the NPR Climate Desk series Beyond the Poles: The far-reaching dangers of melting ice.

This audio story was edited by Neela Banerjee and Sadie Babits. It was produced by Ryan Kellman.