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Fire Wars

Fire Wars

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Item Number:
120 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
Every year, thousands of men and women wage America's war on fire in our majestic wildlands. Armed with special training and the best technology, and with their hearts full of determination, they battle the blazes.

But in spite of all their efforts, we are not winning the fire wars. In the year 2000 alone, wildfires ignited over six million acres across the United States, destroying homes, scorching lives--and burning through over $1 billion in firefighting costs. And years of fire suppression have left a dangerous legacy: forest conditions that lead to more catastrophic fires than ever before.

Now, the firefighting community is asking new questions: can we win, if we only fight fire as a war? Should we fight all fires? Ecologists point to another side of fire--as one of the key elements in healthy ecosystems, necessary and revitalizing. What would happen to our forests if we did eliminate all wildfires?

To find out what's wrong with America's war on wildfires, travel to the fire line with the Arrowhead Hotshots, a top firefighting team pushed to its limit in "the fire summer from hell." Take the first jump with a group of rookie smokejumpers training to fight fires in remote terrains. Trace the dramatic and often tragic history of American wildfires. See how deliberately set "prescribed fires" may help America avoid out-of-control blazes--or may lead to disasters like the fire that burned Los Alamos, New Mexico. And explore the science of fire, from the smallest burning match to uncontrollable, landscape-sized conflagrations.

Fire Wars offers an up-close look at the war on wildfire--a war so intense, you can feel the heat.

Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. On one DVD5 disc. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

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