Segments in this Video

Camp Fire Begins (02:23)


By Nov. 8, 2018, northern California has experienced over 200 days without measurable rain. In Pulga, the wind blows a high voltage power line off a tower, starting a fire. (Credits)

Paradise Fire (02:15)

Cal Fire Leader Ken Pimlott has never seen anything like the blaze that reaches the mountain town. All four roads leading out of Paradise are perilous. First responders rush to evacuate residents.

Fire Approaches Magalia (03:42)

George Gold awakens to learn he must evacuate. The roads are clogged with obstacles, including downed power lines and trees. Longtime residents watch helplessly as the blaze consumes their city.

Studying the Camp Fire (02:24)

As residents of Paradise and Magalia evacuate, meteorologist Craig Clements and his team gather data that may help explain how wildfires spread. The work he does is dangerous, but it may yield a big scientific payoff.

Age of Megafires (02:54)

After 48 hours, the Camp Fire has consumed more than 100,000 acres; it eventually claims 86 lives and destroys 19,000 structures. It is the most destructive fire in California history and illustrates a disturbing trend.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Fire (03:18)

Mark Finney and other researchers study wildfires at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire requires oxygen and a heat source. Wildfires add two additional elements, weather and topography, that determine how they grow and spread.

Fire Monitoring (03:49)

Thousands of fire fighters report to daily briefing. Incident meteorologist Alex Hoon worries about what lies ahead. He accesses a suite of instruments on the ground, in aircraft, and in space; Clements studies the phenomenon of spotting.

Chimney Effect and Fire Tornadoes (05:06)

The fire that destroyed Paradise is more than just a big wildfire. The physics of fire changes, greatly increasing its intensity. Sara McAllister and Finney's experiments provide insight on why this occurred.

Unforeseen Consequences (05:09)

Stephen Pyne explains how the last century of forestry practices has interrupted the fire cycle, leading to worse fires. The U.S. Forestry Service has a more nuanced policy that is sometimes at odd with a forest building boom.

Wildland-Urban Interface (04:44)

In 2018, the Cougar Creek Fire rips through a sparsely populated section of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; it intensifies and moves toward small communities. Noel Livingston discusses managing the fire problem.

Thinning and Prescribed Burning (04:30)

A century of excluding fire has created unhealthy and dangerous forests around the United States. Fire ecologist Sharon Hood tests management alternatives in western Montana.

Endless Fire Season (05:15)

Fires grow larger and warmer, and drier conditions mean they are no longer restricted to a season. Paleo-ecologist Cathy Whitlock studies the link between climate and fire at Yellowstone National Park.

Changing Burn Cycles (05:11)

Ecologist Monica Turner and her team study Yellowstone’s lodgepole pine forests, to understand how fires affect the forest and forest recovery. Turner wonders if climate change makes it hard for the forest to bounce back.

Credits: Inside the Megafire (00:47)

Credits: Inside the Megafire

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Inside the Megafire

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The California wildfires of 2018 took a worrisome trend to a new extreme, claiming lives and more than a million acres. Scientists investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and drought may contribute to the rise of deadly megafires.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL188620

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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