May Documentary Highlights the Link Between Forest Fires and Climate Change

While the last two fire seasons in California have raised a general awareness of an association between fires and climate change, Wilder Than Wild: Fire, Forests and the Future grippingly delineates precisely what that connection is. Over the course of an hour, director and narrator Kevin White explains and vividly illustrates how fuel buildup and climate change create huge “megafires,” the greenhouse gases from which in turn promote global warming.

The film will be screened in the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 11, at 1:30 p.m. A discussion led by local ecologist Richard Godfrey will follow. Admission is free and open to the public.

Kevin White and screenwriter, Stephen Most, take viewers on a tour of recent megafire history, climaxing with the devastating and deadly wine country conflagration of 2017. They show how the perennial job of large forests renewing the atmosphere is not only stopped by these fires, but in some cases reversed, so the burnt ruins can become net emitters of greenhouse gases.

Surprisingly, there is hope that this catastrophic sequence can be slowed or perhaps even stopped by the ancient native practice of “cultural fire,” in which indigenous peoples used controlled burns to shape a sustainable local ecology.

Viewers will likely share the enthusiasm of Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott, whose judgement is that Wilder Than Wild is “an absolutely wonderful production. The messages in this film are spot on.”

The Second Saturday Documentary Series is co-sponsored by Niles Discovery Church and the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. Learn more about the series at

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