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

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.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lauren Sommer covers climate change for NPR's Science Desk, from the scientists on the front lines of documenting the warming climate to the way those changes are reshaping communities and ecosystems around the world.