Unacceptable Risk film screenshot

Wildfire is an important part of the ecology of the western United States. Some trees native to this region actually require fire to reproduce. But in Colorado, a fast-warming climate, drought, tree-killing insects, and human suppression of natural wildfire have combined to create the fuel and the conditions for fires that go far beyond what’s beneficial. Wildfires now burn bigger, faster, longer, and well outside what’s considered the normal “fire season.”

To describe this new reality, director Daniel Glick created Unacceptable Risk, a short film about the experiences of firefighters on the front lines.

Glick: “We felt that firefighters are among the more trusted sources out there. So when a firefighter gets up there and says, ‘Climate change has changed my life,’ I think it’s a way of conveying the science in a really human way, through storytelling.”

The film outlines how more frequent wildfires – combined with a fast-growing population spreading over larger areas – are stretching firefighting resources thin. And it explains why limiting climate change is critical to protect firefighters on the front lines.

The film is currently being used in firefighter training. But Glick hopes Unacceptable Risk will also inform policymakers and inspire action.

Unacceptable Risk film screenshot 2

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Evan Lowenstein.
Photos source: Unacceptable Risk (video screenshots).

More Resources
Unacceptable Risk film
The Story Group
Unacceptable Risk: Climate change? These filmmakers asked Colorado wildland firefighters
Federal report links Colorado fires to climate change

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Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...