Daily Video

July 21, 2021

Daily News Lesson: West U.S. wildfires are so extreme that they’re creating lightning, fire whirls

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

Summary:  More than 80 large fires are burning in 13 states across the U.S. currently, impacting nearly 1.3 million acres. One of the worst remains in Southern Oregon — the Bootleg Fire. It has been burning for two weeks and has already scorched an area a third of the size of Rhode Island. Carrie Bilbao with the National Interagency Fire Center joins William Brangham with the latest on the fires.

Five Facts: 

  • Who is Carrie Bilbao?
  • What is the immediate cause of these wildfires? 
  • When do extreme fires at higher elevations normally happen? When are they happening now?  
  • Why are these particular fires more of concern? 
  • What is extreme fire behavior? 

Discussion questions: 

Focus questions:

  • Bilbao mentions that rain would help control these fires, but in a drought that doesn’t happen. What are other ways authorities can prevent and prepare for these wildfires? Can you think of any long-term ideas to help with wildfire prevention? 

Media literacy: By broadcasting this story, what did the producers hope to achieve? What might the response to this piece be? 

Dig Deeper: 

  • To track the spread of wildfires in the US as Carrie Bilbao does, see this website.
  • For more from PBS on wildfires and droughts, see these stories 

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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