Monday, June 19, 2017

Movie review: American Experience: The Big Burn

 An incredible firestorm destroying forests in the northern Rockies in 1910 challenges the fledgling U.S. Forest Service. Shaping fire policy for the next 100 years, the fire propelled growth of the U.S. Forest Service and determination to stop each and every forest fire.

Oliver Platt (Narrator), James Hook (Pulaski), Jeffery Looney (Pulaski), Bryan Jennings, Nick Masciangelo.

In 1910 the U.S. Forest Service consisted of only a handful of men that could see the potential for destruction in forest fires. When a lightning storm ignited the drought stricken northern Rockies, the U.S.F.S recruited everyone they could and enlisted assistance from the military. The result was exponential growth, and public support, along with a policy to stop every forest fire for the next 100 years.
Though the policy of stopping all fires saved a lot of lives and trees, it has also caused National Forest's to become ridiculously overgrown and abundant with fuel, creating a scenario for immensely destructive and unstoppable forest fires. Thankfully this policy is changing to allow forests to mature, and die, naturally.

Narration by Platt was good, as were interviews.
Camera work was good, but much of the film relies on period photos and video, which fit perfectly and expressed the tone of the times well.
Sound and soundtrack were solid.

This is a well done history lesson on the U.S. Forest Service and forest fire policy that has shaped forest management for the last 100 years. Those unfamiliar with U.S. forest fire fighting policies should enjoy this one and probably learn something.

Nothing here to limit audience age.

Released: 2014
Reviewed: 6.2.17
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: TV shows, Documentaries, Historical Documentaries

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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