California Burning

California Burning: Episode 1—Our History With Fire

Sep 29, 2019
James Lewis

 

Smokey Bear is arguably the most effective advertising campaign in American history—but Smokey’s message created a fear in many of us that’s led to a misunderstanding of fire.

In this first episode of California Burning, we explore what Smokey got wrong, and we learn how a series of unprecedented wildfires in the early twentieth-century started forest management policies that have contributed to the catastrophic wildfires we’re experiencing today.

California Burning: Episode 2—Native Intelligence

Sep 29, 2019
Matt Fidler

Native Californians used fire to maintain the forests that surrounded them for more than 14,000 years. This prevented future wildfires and supported many plants and animals that need fire to thrive. On the second episode of California Burning, Matt shadows a pyrogeographer and learns how the Yurok Tribe on the Klamath River and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Santa Cruz are bringing fire back to the land.

California Burning: Episode 3—One Foot In The Black

Sep 29, 2019
Matt Fidler

Fire behavior is complicated, but can often be predicted. On the third episode of California Burning, we dive into the science of fire by visiting a wildland fire lab and a sustainable timber operation. We also hear from firefighters, forest rangers, and the “Helltown Hotshots” who risked it all to save their town during the Camp Fire.

California Burning: Episode 4—The Wildland-Urban Interface

Sep 29, 2019
Matt Fidler

 

Wildfires are no longer isolated to our forests in California. They now also threaten our cities. On the fourth episode of California Burning, we focus on where urban and wild spaces meet and hear from people who have experienced some of the most tragic fires in California’s history.

California Burning: Episode 5—Our Future With Fire

Sep 29, 2019
Matt Fidler

 

How can we address all the different factors associated with the wildfires plaguing California? On the fifth and final episode of California Burning, we seek solutions. We learn about alternative building materials that can withstand fire, and we go to a fire-resistant house that was the only in its neighborhood to survive the 2018 Carr Fire.  

California Burning: North State

Oct 20, 2014

The Rim Fire grabbed headlines and attention like no other wildfire in California.

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It burned into one of California’s most beloved national parks, Yosemite. A year later, its scars still show, not just on the land but on the people who watched it burn.

Jerry Baker: “It was burning so dramatically here it became obvious that no human was going to stop this fire. It was in my mind obviously hopeless.”

Jerry Baker of Groveland walks to where he watched the Rim Fire burn.