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6 Degrees Entertainment

NOVA: Inside The Megafire'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)

Overview: NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 California fire season.

Scientists race to understand what's behind the rise of the record-breaking megafires and investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades.

DVD Verdict: The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

It is also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918 and is high on the list of the world's deadliest wildfires; it is the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall.

Indeed, and furthermore, it was one of the world's costliest natural disasters in 2018.

Named after Camp Creek Road, its place of origin, the fire started on November 8th, 2018, in Butte County, in Northern California. After exhibiting extreme fire spread, fireline intensity, and spotting behaviors through the wilderness community of Concow, an urban firestorm formed in the densely populated foothill town of Paradise.

The fire caused at least 85 civilian fatalities, with two people still missing and unaccounted for, and injured 12 civilians, two prison inmate firefighters, and three other firefighters.

It covered an area of 153,336 acres (62,053 ha) (almost 240 sq. miles), and destroyed 18,804 structures, with most of the damage occurring within the first four hours.

Total damage was $16.5 billion; one-quarter of the damage, $4 billion, was not insured. With the arrival of the first winter rainstorm of the season, the fire reached 100 percent containment after seventeen days on November 25th, 2018.

But how did it get so big so fast? And why are megafires like these becoming more common?

NOVA goes to the front lines of the deadliest fires of California's 2018 fire season to hear from the people who had to flee - and the scientists racing to understand what's behind these record-breaking infernos.

Researchers take to the forest, and even a fire lab, to understand the increasing megafire threat. They explore the physics of fire itself, documenting how firestorms move and travel, and what causes phenomena like fire tornadoes.

In the process, they decode the link between climate change, drought, and wildfire.

And they show how those environmental factors -combined with a century of fire suppression in the American West and new residential developments in the forest - may have created an unprecedented risk. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.