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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  July 10, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EDT

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climate change in ottawa. it's hoped to could lead to vigorous steps by canada's government a reminder - keep up to date with all the news on the website. that's at [ ♪♪ ] on "america tonight", parking a high alert. the plane has to be ready in half an hour. >> it could be any one of them, it happens to be 912. >> the fire season and how bad will the season be, and whether the firefighters have the right tools to stop the blazers. on the trail of arsonists. >> what is it about the place that attracts this. >> if you drive through the
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path, it's a fire ground. the landscape is an invitation an invitation to disaster. sara hoy in the heart of california's arson ally. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. tonight a good part of north america is on wildfire watch. the season is not in full swing, but hundreds of wildfires have been burning now in the united states and canada. tens of thousands of fires cost billions, and tragically lives are lost. one in five wildfires are deliberate criminal acts. there's a pattern. some areas are known as repeat targets. sara hoy from southern california where arsonists are
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on the proud. >> firefighters have been accounted for. >> reporter: police crackled to life, and firefighters. the calm chatter acting the severity of the situation. five u.s. firefighters were dead or daring atop a hill in the mountains. known locally as arson ally. >> i didn't know anything. and one of my co-worker said oh my goodness, five firefighters are missing. and i thought "oh, no, goodness, no." then i got a phone call, and one of tanny's friends -- danny's friend's mums said danny's truck went down. i felt numb. >> it was a call gloria dreaded. and quietly hoped she'd never receive.
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her son daniel, and four other men of engine company 57. captain mark, jason mccay, pablo, and jess mcclean were killed defending a vacant home. >> reporter: what did the world lose when we lost your son? >> danny was a - an amazing son. he loved - loved his work. he was 20 years, 7 months and three days. >> reporter: nearly nine years later and the wound is yet to heel. with the dark day, the news was delivered, forever time. >> it was two gentlemen in forestry uniforms, and i said we have to tell you that your son,
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daniel, one of the casualties. i completely broke down. the only thing i wanted to do was just hold him. >> reporter: but the fire was no freak accident. the wildfire that extinguished the lives of five firefighters was intentionally set. >> the full resources of the riverside county, the state of california, and the federal government will track down the custody. >> reporter: finding and bringing an arsonist to justice is tough work. >> it's a very, very difficult crime to prove, it is, in fact, the second-most difficult of all to prove behind only sexual abuse. >> journalist and author john mclean wrote the book, "the esperanzo fire." the
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fbi has a profile. it is a white male, blue collared, 26 or less, abused as a child, with difficulty maintaining a relationship. who has bad job records, i would add to that the element of drugs. >> the fire was one that scorched 40,000 acres. starting east of los angeles, along the banning pass. the pass between two mountain ranges became notorious with a pal that attracts arsonists. >> fires can be set by lightening or arsonist. what is it about the set up. >> if i drive through the pass and think about fire, it's a natural fire ground. the landscape is an invitation, they have a high rate of criminal activity.
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>> we are approaching the start of the esperanza fire. it was a job to cut down the state's firefighting agency. we met the investigators along the pass. >> we are at the point of origin of the esperanzo fire that firefighters. >> we are standing where it started. what happened? >> the suspect that started this fire needed the time to make device, placed it out here in the grarks in the brush. away. it ignited the hillside. >> although doug alan did not work the case, he walked us through the process of a wild land arson investigation. what are you looking for, how do you set it up? >> they set up a grid pattern at the specific area of origin, and
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they outline with stripping, each [ , they are square -- each square they are reading the fire imprant. story. >> it leaves a remnant. >> reporter: re stumble upon a blackened rock. >> this likely is left from the fire. you see on one side it is charred and has a bit of white ash. when an investigator sees this on the ground. he can interpret the fire moved from the exposed side, into the rock, caused the carbon deposits and burps, and moved on and regressed. following the burn indicators, he can come back to where the fire started. >> reporter: fire hours of work, arson investigators found the device used to set the fire,
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secret and matches secured by a rubberband. when you learnt that the fire was set by an arsonist, how did you feel? >> my heart sank thinking someone could intentionally kill someone else, and hurt somebody. >> trying to be powerful. do they think "i want to kill the individual. you can't say they killed the five people. you can say as the prosecutor's repeatedly during the trial. raymond was a man bent on instruction. >> it's a germ feeling. end. >> cameras were set in the pass where they thought there may be arson starts. one picked up a car. coming out, six minutes later a column
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of spoke came up. >> reporter: riverside detectives arrested a man. >> one time he was a firefighter i believe for three months for department. >> serial arsonist are often hidden among the ranks of the firefighting community. >> one of the all-time arsonist an investigator. >> he's talking about john orr, a former arson investigators, serving a life sentence for setting a deadly fire. it's believed he set more than 1,000 before he was caught. we are talking about an arson fires. >> there's a type, a firefighter arsonist. the best guess is 85% of
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firefighter arsonists are in volunteer departments. vetted. >> reporter: the shocking stat investigators. >> standing operating procedures is too look at the firefighters with a state and federal agencies stationed in the area. they want to eliminate their own people first. >> reporter: what is equally alarming. the number of arsonists living in this region alone. >> how many people are setting the wildfires? >> in southern california, there may be eight, 10 or a dozen people out there committing serial arsons. >> a dozen serial arsonists. >> that gave me a ping in my stomach, thinking there are that many arsonists in the area here. it's sad to think someone could go out there and start a fire. the first thing i would think of is families, the loss of a human
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being. because of someone else doing it. just like someone shooting someone with a gun. a loss is a loss. >> reporter: arson is a crime and should be punished. if you put away a couple of guys, you save yourself from a lot of trouble in the future next, where this year's fire seven is ablaze. unprecedented evacuations. and worry about what is next. % later, help from the skies. do the big air drops really work. and hot on the "america tonight" website. a beach tries to clean up a coast. littered by a toxic history at
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it's a bad situation set to get worse. there's an ominous warning. the heatwave out west have topped 100 degrees, combined with drought. rain fall destined to fuel wildfire. they are feeling the heat too up north. more than 600 wildfires scorched canada, and the smoke from the blazes made its asouth, seen in the western states. the canadian news network, global news, is in saskatchewan. can you tell us what you have seen. this is already a record year. >> it sure is. they get about 100 wildfires a season in saskatchewan. this year, as you mentioned, there's 600, and we are halfway
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through this season. so for the past week or so, it's within the emergency situation in the northern part of saskatchewan. it's been smokey, it's hot. and the wildfires are raging pretty well to the north of us. one near la ronge is close to that community, threatening it, of course. it's 2 hours north of us, another at montreal lake, first nation, in prince albert, and that fire has passed into the community, burning six homes to the ground. the foundations is all that is left standing, and still the situation is ongoing. there's hot spots in that community, and most parts of the province is high. >> faigss in -- first nations sa known as native american communities. there has been a number of evacuations as well. >> that's right. 7,000 people are staying in
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emergency shelters, we under 13,000 have been forced out. half finding friends, family to live in. it's a sparsely populated part of canada. when you talk about 13,000 evacuated from their homes, it's a huge percentage of people living in this part of canada, and there's no end in sight. we ask officials when can some evacuees plan to go home, there's no firm answer. >> we see the fire equipment beyond you. seems they have brought the forces out available to them. do people in the communities feel it's been enough? >> it's a good question. if you ask some, they say no. as i said earlier, they planned for 100 wildfires. when you have six times that, they need to make alternate plans. they brought in the canadian army. they have deployed 600 troops to help the firefighters on the
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fire line, and so they trained them, and don't know how to be firefighters. they have given them the training. they set out to do so. it's hoped that the extra manpower may get a handle on the spreading. >> you have been up to the fire line yourself, i understand, can you describe what you saw there? >> well, we have been to montreal lake, and that is the fire that has gone through the community, six homes burnt to the ground. we saw nothing left. the appliances fell into the basement of the homes, and still hot spots. we stood besides many hot spots in fires that had passed through the areas, but the flames were still smoking or embers still burning underneath some of that debris. that is the situation, the scary part. the firefighters want to focus on the out of control fighters
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and not go back to the flare ups and the pop up fires after they them. >> we appreciate that view from saskatchewan in canada next - the firefighters arsenal. those jumbo jet air drops and questions about whether they really do much good. doubt about another mission on friday. the u.s. effort to rebuild afghanistan, a billion investment in the basic needs of an embattled people. in the evidence that has gone to waste. rebuilding ag, friday on "america tonight". >> hidden in the mountains of afghanistan. >> what you have seen was a drop of the iceberg. >> a 5000 year old archeological site. >> this has preservation on a scale that no other sites have. >> under threat by global mining and scheduled for demolition. >> mes aynak is one of the most important sites in the century.
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>> with time running out... >> they're losing everything. >> can archeologists stop the clock? >> this is rescue archaeologic - we are trying to excavate as fast as possible.
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with no let up in the west's fierce heatwave, forecasters warn the fire season not only started earlier, but is likely to see more blazes and last longer than more. california's fire agency responded to 350 new fires in the drought-stricken state. in the face of the challenge firefighters are looking skyward for help to tame the wild. there's doubt that it is a strategy which works. >> it's unreal. >> shock and awe. inside the cockpit of an air national guard c130. the ground warning sounds.
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the plane is flying low, and slow. at the aircraft flies head on into a plume of smoke, ready to unleash a cloud of flame retardants. the historic fire began in an unremarkable way. in august of 2013, near california's yosemite national park. the pilot was in the air that morning, on his way home no groveland california. >> i was at an event in lake tahu. i saw the fire from the air. 7 o'clock in the morning. it was small. >> but unpredictable. powerful winds. combined with terrain, ignited with a disaster. if you of us witnessed the power of a wildfire up close.
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it's an angry war that is unmistakable. it's merciless heat unstoppable. >> less heat. >> the rim fire engulfed 100,000 acres. henderson was forced to flee. >> i packed up by things and thought maybe that's the last time i see her house. >> perched atop a roof, they were helpless to do anything. >> serious business. you can see flames. oh, no. it's less than a mile. very scary, realising that the fire was about to overrun the house. when you are sitting a block away and watching this happen. it's close within half a mile. hopefully they bring the heavies
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in to dump this thing. they are the largest fixed winged firefighters. tankers. >> it's over my house. it will be red. >> oh, my gosh. here it goes. >> it will dump on the house. it will dump on the house. >> what have you condition? >> it's a good thing, honey. >> thank you. >> appreciate your help, honey. >> see you later. >> saving homes one at a time. >> during the fire, help came to groveland from 10,000 feet up. we got a closer look at albuquerque new mexico, home base of the d.c. 10s. that plane has to be ready to go in half an hour. >> it could be anyone one, it
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happens to be number two. i have a crew preflighted, we are waiting for a call. >> reporter: this craft is called a game changer. how does it change the game for firefighters? >> primarily it's quantity. this is a four or more times any other tanker flying, and therefore gets there with more sooner, and that's a good thing. i've never had an incident commander running a fire, tell me that we got in too soon, and we brought too much. >> what about a home owner. >> they say had the tool or weapon not been available, the outcome would have been worse. >> go, baby. >> when the d.c. 10 comes in. >> it comes in to drop the pay load. . >> yes. >> like that. we like our big friend. >> in groveland the big friend gets the credit.
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after decades of air drops, some experts doubt aerial firefighting works. >> they are having researchers with trained firefighters going out after the drops occurred, to see how effective they are. people are not sure, even though they have done this for 20, 30, 40 years. >> researcher bill stuart said we should look at firefighting, tv friendly cnn drops, to see if it is worth it. >> when things are watch, there'll be an updraft of hot air, it will be hard for light material, retart and or water to get on to put out the flames. >> it's an expensive fight. aerial assaults cost nearly $11 million, more than 10%. $95 million spent on nine week long firefight. stewart says not only are there questions about the effectiveness of the tankers,
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but a better investment may be made in more and better equipped boots on the ground. >> maintaining fire safety is the number one priority. there's a question of whether when we invest the next 10 million, how much of that will go to aerial suppression, how much will go to fuel management, and ground pressure. >> in the aftermath of the fire, the forest fire spent $134 million on rehabilitation, and trying to clampdown on fuel before the next fire. it estimates it will have to double the figure to restore the vulnerable woodland. bill says his goal is no to ground the firefighters, but make sure resources are available to protect against future fires. >> there's a choice of where we invest. we'll have big fires for a long time in the rest. it's not during the weather to
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say no, you can't nigh the air plane, but over a decade, where investments. >> this season the first study of evidence is being launched that aerial firefighting is not effective. on board the d.c. 10 tanker the pilot says for communities in the path of a raging wildfire, there's no better protection. people say there's a more cost effective way to do this. >> i say to those people, though us what is cost effective. i don't know any other way of putting out retardant that aircraft do. >> the evidence is here. in the fast-moving fire, walls of flames went through, over the canyon that was scarred, blackened and buried. >> under two minutes.
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300 feet flames. i don't know how we stop that. >> already dropped. >> the giant d.c. 10 dapinger, filled with 10 times retardant brought badly needed help in, fast. to home owners in the path of the flames, there's no doubt. >> if the d.c. 10 wouldn't have come in here. they would have been lit. it would have been an aftermath, an afterthought. a clean-up. >> in a fire season that bears watch. that's "america tonight". tell us what you think at talk to us on twitter and come back for for of "america tonight" tomorrow.
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the u.n. announces a the u.n. announces a week-long humanitarian ceasefire in yemen to help the delivery of vital aid. welcome to al jazeera, live from doha. i'm elizabeth puranam. also ahead - greece submits a new debt restructuring plan to lenders as demonstrators take to the streets. >> former saudi foreign minister saud al-faisal who held the post for 40 years has died.