Episode available within Canada only.

Nature created it.  Humans harnessed it. And now, as climate change helps light a flame to our forests, scientists are desperately trying to understand it. This compelling documentary travels from Alberta to Australia to follow researchers and firefighters as they head straight Into the Fire.

To director Leora Eisen, fire has always been a source of fascination – and fear. “When I was 21 and living in a high rise apartment, the fire alarm went off at three in the morning.  I remember walking down the staircase in a daze, my eyes burning from the smoke, and being scared out of my wits.”

Our relationship with fire is complicated. Through the ages, we’ve used it to stay warm, cook dinner, even decorate our birthday cakes. But we’ve also been devastated by its destructive path. This past summer, more than one million hectares of the B.C. landscape went up in smoke. In 2016, the Fort McMurray wildfire – known as “the Beast”- forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 residents.

SCENE FROM THE FILM: Research shows that the window to escape a burning home has been reduced from 17 to 3 minutes.

“A spark can light a raging inferno,” says Univ. of Alberta wildfire expert Mike Flannigan.  “And where fire intersects with people, the results can be disastrous.” In Into the Fire, he heads to B.C.’s biggest blaze to give viewers a riveting glimpse into fire behaviour.

One of the biggest mysteries is why one house burns down, while the one next door survives. That’s why fire safety consultant Alan Westhaver takes us on a tour through the neighbourhoods of Fort McMurray, a year after the fire. “There are lessons in the ashes,” he notes.

But it’s not just the fires in our forests that are becoming more dangerous. According to Ottawa Fire’s Peter McBride, “modern homes have become like easy bake ovens.” As our homes have changed, urban firefighters have had to change tactics.

MORE:
Ten Ways to Help Your Home Survive a Wildfire
Firefighters Need to Train Like Elite Athletes
H
ot FIre Facts

“Now that I’ve finished the film, I’m even more fascinated by fire,” says director Eisen. “But I’ve also learned from the scientists that it’s more important to respect it than fear it.”  After all, notes researcher and former firefighter Josh Johnston, “it was on this landscape before we were.”

Follow Into the Fire on social media on facebook or twitter.

Into the Fire is directed by Leora Eisen. Executive Producer is Gordon Henderson of 90th Parallel Productions.

 

 

Credits (Click to expand)

Into the Fire

Produced, Directed and Written by 
Leora Eisen

Executive Producer
Gordon Henderson

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Editor
Michael Hannan

Director Of Photography
Michael Grippo csc

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Production Manager
Susanne Cuffe

Additional Photography
Max Armstrong
Todd Craddock
Ian Grob
Allan Leader
Ryan Mariotti
Miles Rowland

Sound Recordist
Mike Josselyn
Eric Davies
Jon LeBrun

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Original Music
Bruce Fowler

Associate Producer
Jackie Carlos

Research
Jackie Carlos
Leora Eisen
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Visual Researcher
Gina Cali

Assistant Editor
Chris Matheson

Audio Mix
Mike Duncan

Additional Audio Mix
Shane Duncan

Online Editor/Colourist
Mario Baptista

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Visual Archives
Alamy
BC Wildfire Service
Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre
CBC Archive Sales
CTV Archives
Doug Burts ASM Alpha 4, Alaska
Jack Woods
Michel Chamberland / ViralHog.com
Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, U.S. Forest Service
National Research Council Flight Research Lab
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Ottawa Fire Service
Martin Lisius/StormStock
Ron Svisdahl
Sally Aitken, Faculty of Forestry, U.B.C
Shutterstock
Tim Whitesell ASM Alph 4, Alaska
Thompson Nicola Regional District
Univ. of Waterloo Live Fire Research Facility
Alan Westhaver, ForestWise Environmental Consulting
YouTube/Jason Edmondson via Storyful
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Special Thanks
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
BC Wildfire Service
Canadian Forest Service
Sandra Dorman, CROSH
Michel Chamberland
Lynn Johnston
Johnston Family
Ont. Ministry of Natural Resources
Ottawa Fire Service
PyroLance
Missoula Fire Sciences Lab
Missoula Technology Development Center, U.S. Forest Service
National Research Council Flight Research Lab
Christine Rosche
Sudbury Forest Fire Management Centre
U.S. Forest Service
Univ of Waterloo Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Waterloo Fire Service
Warddeken Land Management
Mike Wotton, Univ. of Toronto

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Produced by
90th PARALLEL PRODUCTIONS LTD.
(logo)

© 2017 90th Parallel Productions Ltd.

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For the CBC

General Manager, Programming
Sally Catto

Executive Director, Unscripted Content
Jennifer Dettman

Senior Director, Documentary
Sandra Kleinfeld

Director Of Production, Unscripted Content
Alexandra Lane

Executive in Charge of Production
Sue Dando

Director Of Finance, Unscripted Content
Julie Lawlor

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The Nature of Things
with David Suzuki

produced by
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

cbc.ca/natureofthings
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produced in association with
CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
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