Dry things burn more easily. Because Antarctica is the driest place on earth (because all the water is frozen) the risk of fire is a real problem.

Prevention is better than cure 

There isn’t much liquid water in Antarctica to put fires out so fire prevention is very important. Scott Base has smoke, heat, and sprinkler systems, alongside eight fire hydrants, and more than 100 fire extinguishers. Scott Base always keeps around 64,000 litres of water for firefighting as part of its safety procedures. Regular fire drills for everyone at Scott Base keep fire prevention and awareness at a high level. 

The fire crews 

There is always a fire crew on duty, made up of Scott Base staff trained by the New Zealand Fire Service. The United States Antarctic Program also has a professional firefighting crew stationed at McMurdo station a few kilometres away. McMurdo and Scott Base fire crews provide backup for each other and sometimes run drills and training exercises together. 

In the event of a large fire, key passageways can be closed to contain the blaze. This helps the Scott Base Fire crews tackle the fire from different directions. In the event of a fire people might have to go outside so everyone needs to be prepared with warm clothing and shoes at the ready by their beds. 

More information

Visit the Antarctic Fire Department website for more information.

Listen to the below audio file for more information about auroras: