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Fire Wars

Program Overview


Americans have long engaged in an ongoing struggle against one of the most important ecological forces of nature—wildfires. NOVA follows an elite firefighting team through the 2000 fire season, one of the fieriest in U.S. history.

The program:

  • introduces the Arrowhead Hotshots, an elite team of wildfire fighters from California, and tracks the team's efforts through the season.

  • focuses on the months-long effort to control a massive fire in Clear Creek, Idaho, the largest single wildfire in the year 2000.

  • reveals the ecological benefits and importance of fire to wildland systems.

  • documents major wildfires from the past century, emphasizing the lessons learned from each encounter.

  • explains the development of modern wildfire fighting methods and the technology, equipment, and strategies that are employed to control wildfires.

  • details the enormous role that weather plays in wildfires.

  • documents a comprehensive wildfire research project in the Alaskan wilderness.

  • examines the debate among supporters of various firefighting policies, raising the possibility that some environmental policies have created forests where wildfires are hotter, burn faster, and spread more quickly than they did 100 years ago.

Teacher's Guide
Fire Wars
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