“Inside the Megafire” premiers May 8 on PBS

Inside the Megafire,” premiering Wednesday, May 8 at 9pm ET/8c and streaming online at PBS

In this episode, NOVA reports from the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, and follows scientists racing to understand what’s behind the recent rise in record-breaking megafires—from forestry practices, to climate change, to the physics of fire itself.


Just a few months after California’s devastating Carr Fire, another blaze became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. As residents raced to evacuate, the Camp Fire devoured 150,000 acres and claimed 86 lives. 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.

(Full program will be available to stream here for several weeks, even for those who do not have a paid subscription to PBS)

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/novapbs/status/1124373051666239488

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

10 thoughts on ““Inside the Megafire” premiers May 8 on PBS”

  1. Thank you so much for the heads-up. I don’t watch much TV and would have missed it.
    Also thanks for all your work keeping this site going. It’s very helpful and interesting for me.

  2. Thanks Bill, for your top-shelf posts! I’ve shared the NOVA details on Fire – related Facebook Groups in both SoCal and NorCal. I found that I had to use the keyword “NOVA” on my Frontier Communications search engine; nothing ‘hit’ using “Inside the Megafire”.

    Others MAY (as in “might”) find an online channel schedule/guide by Googling (o/e) the name of their cable (etc) provider, including their town or area, followed by ‘channel guide’. Use quotes to narrow the search, as in “Frontier Communications Orange County channel guide”.

  3. Anyone know when it will be available to stream on NOVA’s website? It says “watch now” and “stream full episode” but I’m still only getting the trailer. My boyfriend was one of the scientists in the fire and we had planned to watch it tonight… kinda bummed we can’t stream it tonight.

    1. Courtney I am getting the same thing. Just the 28 second trailer. I was told today by someone from the company that produced the film that we would be able to stream it online at the same time that it was broadcast. Obviously that is not the case. I am disappointed.

      1. Me too… hopefully it streams tomorrow. Matt was really excited to see the footage. Thanks for the response, let me know if you get anything.

      2. Will Toubman of Miles O’Brien Productions who produced the film with NOVA, said, “I’m told that you’ll be able to stream as soon as the broadcast begins tonight (9P ET).” But that turned out not to be the case, at least for some of us.

        Mr. Toubman also said, “I’m told it should be available to everyone (inside the US) for the first few weeks, then they usually put it behind the wall.”

        1. Sorry for the delay on the streaming. They must have been waiting till the start of broadcast on the west coast. Unfortunately it is usually not available outside the US, but I will check.

  4. Is there some way this video can be watched/accessed if I’m not in the USA?

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