Las Vegas is a community surrounded by mountains – jagged walls of gray, brown, black, orange, and red. We even have mountains of green, home to aspens, pines, oaks, sagebrush, creosote, and Joshua trees. The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Mt. Charleston, is our refuge from the desert heat in the summer and our snowy wonderland in the winter.
For the past week, our green mountains have been cloaked by seemingly impenetrable billowing smoke. Photographers show our green mountains in shades of gray, black, intense yellows, and caustic reds. It’s as if our mountains have been replaced with a volcano with every intention of erupting.
Over 15,000 acres are burning. We are all worried for the firefighters, the folks who call this mountain their home, our favorite trees and trails, and the creatures that keep the mountains alive.
Sometimes, in situations like this, it is helpful to learn more about what is happening. I remembered seeing a show on PBS that addressed wildfires many years ago. I did a Google search and found what I was looking for, NOVA’s Fire Wars. I didn’t get to watch the episode, but the companion website is very informative.
Judith Vecchione describes the production of Fire Wars in a website article. Her production team accompanied a Hotshot firefighting crew in the summer of 2000 to create this show for NOVA. Her article details the training, planning, and unpredictability of their venture.
To further explain wildfires, the website takes you through the fire seasons of six continents, describes the gear used by wildland firefighters, and explains the necessity of fires for some ecosystems to thrive. There is also a glossary of terms and a wildfire simulator.
If you are a teacher or have kids at home who are curious to learn more, there is a teacher’s guide provided with problem solving activities for young folks.
Don’t forget to check out the NOVA News Minute Wildfire Lifesaver video clips. The link is kind of small and hidden towards the top of the website.
The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the fire fighting efforts by helping those displaced by the fires. They have a special campaign called Fire Hurts…Red Cross Helps which helps those displaced by fire emergencies. Click on this link to find out more www.redcross.org/nv/las-vegas/ways-to-donate/fire-hurts-red-cross-helps.