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Fire Wars

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. Ask students what kind of fires they have seen or heard about. Have students brainstorm the similarities and differences between a structural fire and a wildland fire. What skills are necessary for firefighters in each setting? What equipment is necessary?

  2. Discuss with students why and when wildland fires might be beneficial or detrimental. What are some reasons for letting a wildfire burn uncontrolled? Why would firefighters want to stop it? What reasons might there be to burn areas in a controlled manner? What are the disadvantages of setting controlled fires?

    The Fire Triangle

    Diagram of fire triangle

    A fire cannot exist without heat, fuel, and oxygen. Managing one or more of those elements helps firefighters contain an unwanted fire or guide a prescribed fire.

After Watching

  1. Have students consider what they think about prescribed burning. Who or what is affected by it? Do students agree or disagree with the use of prescribed burning? Under what conditions would students propose a prescribed burn? What factors would be important to consider?

  2. Tragic events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center attacks have highlighted the heroic roles of urban firefighters. Do students consider wildland firefighters heroes? Why or why not?

Fire Wars Special Section
This special section accompanies the two hours of the NOVA program, "Fire Wars."

Teacher Demonstrations
Student Activities: Where Growth Meets Growth
Student Activities: Fire Season Statistics
Activity Answers
Resources

Teacher's Guide
Fire Wars
BUY THE VIDEO PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS