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tv   Our World  BBC News  January 17, 2021 8:30pm-9:00pm GMT

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this last new year's eve here, starlings were caught and killed by the firecrackers, pictures going viral. not managing the issue can end in tragedy. in ancient rome, the starlings were seen to auger the gods wishes. centuries on, these dazzling creatures keep visiting. how man and nature can coexist is the eternal problem of the eternal city. mark lowen, bbc news, rome. what a beautiful sight. we had been hoping to bring you an interview with debbie for the 100th anniversary, but i'm afraid she's vanished. she really has. we hope we will be able to talk to her some point during this evening. now it's time for a look at the weather with ben rich. good evening.
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a bit of a shift in our weather focus as we move into the new week. the wintry weather of last week replaced by some very wet weather in places this week, there is the risk of flooding. it isn't a bad start to the week, certainly through the early hours of monday, we will see some showery rain across scotland, into northern ireland, the odd shower for england and wales. further south and east, some clear skies, that's where we will see the lowest temperatures, one or two spots getting down to freezing, most places hovering just above. then for tomorrow, this band of rain across southern scotland will eventually shift back northwards into the central belt. sunshine and showers for the far north of scotland. not a bad day for northern ireland. eastern counties of england holding onto some brightness, but for wales and western england, it turns cloudy, misty and murky with some wet weather pushing in. but that is just the start. the rain is set to turn much heavier, much more persistent, particularly across england and wales. and in northern england, there is a met office amber warning for the risk of flooding and disruption during tuesday and wednesday.
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hello, this is bbc news. the headlines... a warning of mounting pressure on hospitals and staff by the head of nhs england. mass vaccinations begin at another ten centres in england from tomorrow as the foreign secretary pledges every adult in the uk will be offered a first dose by september. the anti—kremlin activist alexei navalny is detained in moscow, embracing his wife before he was taken away. mr navalny flew back to russia for the first time since he was nearly killed by a nerve agent attack last year. the jailed american music producer, phil spector, who helped define the sound of the �*60s, and the creator of the �*wall of sound' has died in prison, aged 81. and america is on high alert in the run—up to the inauguration ofjoe biden. now on bbc news, our world tells the extraordinary story
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of the holidaymakers who found themselves trapped by an almighty wildfire at mammoth pools in california's sierra national forest. a warning, this programme contains images some viewers might find distressing. 0n the labour day holiday weekend in september 2020, california was struck by its largest single fire on record. the creek fire. as tornadoes of fire ripped through the sierra national forest, hundreds of holiday—makers were stranded at mammoth pool reservoir.
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using footage shot at the scene, this is the story of the campers who were left with no way out. we are gearing up for a scorching hot labour day weeken, as a strong ridge of high pressure sets up.
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kmj! the weather that weekend was absolutely beautiful. we could not have asked for a nicer weekend. the atmosphere was, it was popping, i guess you could say, if that is the right world. there were a lot of people. it was busy. music, food, barbecue smells in the air, blue skies. it was the vacation anyone would have asked for. 0ur favourite spot is the creek that runs through the camp ground. there is a rope swing that the children have learned to love to swing off of during the summer. liz drove to mammoth pool with her daughters emmeline and dixie aged nine and 11. this was our fifth trip up there summer. as a teacher, i said let's go explore, let see nature. our first trip we caught frogs. and we went out chasing frogs and lizards and wildlife. they were camping with
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their cousin, chris. we were all having a good time, just enjoying ourselves. - mammoth pool, yes, i is a very special place. i have been going up there since i was- about seven days old. and i am 49 now, so i have been going up there - for a very long time. it was fairly calm, not a lot going on. weather was mild. and rather warm. local sheriff tyson pogue was just three months into his newjob. the day started out like any other day. i was at home with the family, relaxing, looking forward to a quiet weekend. a small fire had been reported to melissa wise of the us forest service. i first heard about it on friday, september four. it was a fire that would need to be investigated and so i was tasked to bd investigator.
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—— to be the. on friday evening it was a quarter ofan acre. 0n the morning of saturday it was 600 acres. at ten o'clock that morning the fire was still more than ten miles away in neighbouring fresno county. what we could see way in the distance, directly opposite where we were, was a little plume of smoke, so small. anybody would see that would think nothing of it. you would almost think maybe it is just a campfire. and we were like, 0k, - that is still plenty of ways away. we just continued with our morning. we wanted to go check out the lake, right? it is the first day of our vacation.
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the sun is out. it was beautiful. we all hopped into the boat and we were just plotting around the lake, throughout the coves, and doing some swimming. —— putting. the wind started to pick up and it was actually pretty forceful wind at this point. i received a phone call that morning shortly afternoon letting me know of a fire that was actually in fresno county that they were worried was going tojump over the sanjoaquin river and travel into madera county and it was causing them some concern. the small plume had got inside. —— grown in size. the blue skies i mentioned were starting to be filled with these clouds. you still saw all the people down there by the boat dock, radio, barbecue the people down there by the boat dock, radio, barbecue, playing,
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nobody was leaving, nobody was packing. during the whole time i was listening to the radio, since what was going on with the fire, where it was moving. i heard somebody come across the radio. at that point i knew it was going to be bad. the fire had now spread into madera county and sheriff pogue�*s area of command. we had deputies with lights and sirens evacuating the area. this is a very rural area. generally speaking forest fires move very slow. they take a long time to travel. i would say that my concern level was somewhat low but it ratcheted up rather quickly. we were all very relaxed,
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like, there is a fire, but we don't need to be concerned about it, yet, just be aware of it, be aware of our surroundings. and up there is much as i have, it comes of the territory. so we thought we had a more time than we did. the smoke, it started in just a snap of a finger and it literally took over the sky. mammoth pool was quite far away from where this was burning. - however, once the deputies were on scene they could i see how quickly this fire was moving. - it was throwing spot fires 5—8 miles in front of the fire, _ which was greatly concerning. down on the fire line, cal fire firefighters were taking orders from chiefjustin mccomb. by the time you would implement a plan if i was ready on you and you would have to pull back and reassess. itjust seemed like you would punch
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and if i would punch back and you would try to get ahead of it and it would get ahead of you. fuelled by dead trees and severe drought, the fire was advancing rapidly towards the holiday—makers. i got on the radio and contacted madera county and said we needed officers to start evacuating. this was when we had - to make an adult decision. we all agreed, let's get the heck out of here right now, _ let's get out of here. you would think that| people would receive an evacuation alert, . and evacuation notice. we never received anything. and i don't know why. the sheriff is responsible for evacuation in the event of a wildfire.
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communication with people . at the lake, it was a problem. cellphone service comes in and out. so it is real difficult - for us to let them know this fire is coming. and really they are all on their own. i you know, that is upsetting for us and is very— hard to deal with. emergency services raced to rescue the campers before it was too late. i continued up towards mammoth pool and ran into a wall of flames. we need a new option, we need a helicopter, we need anything to get eyes up there, because our access was cut off. how do we get these people out? initially we reached
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out to highway patrol and the fresno county sheriff's office was not both of those have helicopters. both of those have helicopters. for them to come back and tell us that they are not able to access the area is quite concerning. everybodyjust fleeing to the lake. the fire was surrounding us by that stage. we got to the lake and i can
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rememberthe trail- on the way down there. it is how fast were going. if i was around us, beside us, and in front of us. _ and we knew we were all, all of us were in trouble. i jeremy and his family were trying to get back across the lake to their cars. 0ne second there was no fire, just smoke. the next second you are in the boat and you have fire on all sides of you. you are like, this is absolutely unreal. this is unreal, this is not happening. nobody would ever expect something to happen so fast. all of a sudden you can't breathe. i mean, the smoke started getting so bad my brother had his two little kids, he made sure they were down on the floor of the boat, put the blanket in the water,
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run it out, put it over, so they can actually breathe. and as we're getting closer to the boat dock, the place was engulfed. the whole place. completely engulfed in flames. nearly 1000 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze. it was a defeating feeling, i wanted to help them anyway we could. we were thinking of getting some of our fire bulldozers and try to open up the roadway, it wasjust not a realistic approach. we didn't have a whole lot of good options to help them. all i could think about was getting help to those people. _ the smoke just billowed, it billowed over the lake, bata. i mean, it was bad. the heat was bad. you actually felt the heat, it was hot, very hot.
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people had begun seeking refuge in the water. i felt like that was how we were going to die, just then, thinking, this is how we are going to go out. there is no way we're going to get of this. we were on vacation, what, just a couple of hours before we were at a waterfall. now we were trapped 360 by a fire. it's like, how do you explain this? how do you explain what just happened, right? it's no coverage, nobody is coming to save us, what's going to happen? are we going to fall asleep and die of the smoke? we didn't know. we definitely didn't think we were going to get rescued, because nobody knew anything. with the fire closing in,
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the sheriff had one last roll of the dice. that was one of those points in your life where you realise, this is serious. this is going to be a big deal. he requested help from the california national guard. i've been on plenty of missions where there is a bad guy out there who wants to make sure that you are no longer flying. i've had plenty of things launched at me or shot at me. this, the fire, was by far the most dangerous thing that we have put ourselves into knowingly. but firefighting aircraft on the perimeter of the blaze reported bad news. we were in communication - with the planes who were working the fire, and those planes- essentially were relating back to us that conditions were, - it was not going to be possible to get any type - of aircraft in there. there was no visibility,
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if i was too dangerous, there was just no way i it was going to happen. —— the fire was too dangerous. i mean, it is a fire _ of apocalyptic proportions here. we made the decision to go in there and do this. piloting command joseph rosamond's cvhinook was accompanied by a black hawk. we had neverflown in or around a fire using nightvision goggles and we definitely had neverflown inside a fire at night. that is what really made it really intense. the pilots flew into the wall of smoke. everything that could be on fire was on fire. if you think of the apocalypse, right, that is what it looks like. by saturday night the creek fire had spread over 43,000 acres. there were embers coming up from these pockets of fire throughout the valley. man, if something goes wrong now, there is nothing we are going to be able to do. we are probably all going to die.
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we heard a noise in the distance, and it was quickly identified that this wasn't just a helicopter, this was a chinook. somebody knows we are here. my co—pilot finally pointed out in his ten o'clock position of the aircraft that he saw a bunch of flashing lights, hazard lights from headlights from the group of people that were at mammoth pools. we did the landing, we kicked up a tonne of dust. it completely browned out the visuals, divisibility went down to zero for a while. and you've got the national guard coming out, totally on full tactical gear with their infrared vision. women, children, injured first. theyjust started piling people on. i got back to the trailer, | they said, you kids need to get your as se on that chopper and get out - of here now. i said, go and live, i if i don't make it out,
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i don't make it out. i turned around and i looked back and there was a family sitting in the seats that i could see, a mother with a couple of her kids, they were the same age as my kids. and that really hit home with me, and i had to tell myself, all right, don't look back any more, because we need to focus on what we are doing. it was super noisy. they were giving out earbuds, but... i was the first one to get onto the floor because i was in the very back. that night the chinook and the black hawk flew three rescue missions out of mammoth pools. the ride back to the military base, it had to be many, - many miles ofjust fire. fire. nothing but read embers and flames. it was like looking into hell. 2112 survivors were flown to safety on overloaded aircraft.
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but a handful of people still remained at mammoth pool. among them, chris. they would not take my dogs, so i didn't get on the aircraft. and my dogs, you know, basically, they are our family. at six o'clock the following morning, melissa assembled a team to complete the rescue. we have a mission, there are still people left. - we are getting to them - and they are going to know that they are being rescued. i led the guys and said, here we go. this is a team, let's go. and we started to make our way down towards l the mammoth pool reservoir. when we got up the following morning, it was so smoky you couldn't see the trailer in front of you. that's how bad the smoke was. they were afraid that we were all going to
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get smoke inhalation. they were afraid we were going to die from it. there was no sense of time at all. that afternoon, a local firefighter paused his work to look up at the sky. sunday the sixth, it is 2:30pm. we haven't seen sunlight for quite some time. - we cut over 60 trees on the roadways to get down there. we did no: 30, 8pm. -- 7:30. all of a sudden i start seeing flashlights. i and i'm like, holy sort, the forest service! - that's when we knew, - we're getting out of here. once we got down to the boat launch, we had people there who very happy to see us. and so we lined everyone up, telling them, once you start
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to go through the fire, you will have to go through, then you continue to go. don't stop. in convoy, the final survivors drove out to safety, along with chris and his dogs. i said, we're almost out of here. i said, be patient. be patient. we are almost out of here. it was certain death. that's exactly what it was. we were lucky to get out alive. completely lucky to get out alive. after three and a half months, the creek fire was finally contained on christmas eve. 26 people had been injured. in my a0 something years of living here, in my 20 years of working in the forest department, i've never seen anything like it. it is my understanding that it broke
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the california record for the fastest moving fire. and all of that in little madera county. i can't imagine what those people went through. i'm sad for the forest, because all the forest is gone. my girls are doing 0k. my youngest still, still gets nightmares, still wants- to sleep with me and be extra close and clinging to me. - i think emotionally and mentally it is going to take us _ a little bit longer. president trump gave medals tojoseph rosamond and the national guard pilots for their bravery. more than four million acres of california burned in 2020. trump blames the wildfires on poor forest management. we say, you've got to get rid of the leaves, you've got to get rid of the debris, you've got to get rid of the fallen trees. but president—elect biden sees
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wildfires as a symptom of what america's greatest challenges. the damage from climate change is already here. unless we take urgent action, it will soon be more catastrophic. in the western us, human caused climate change has nearly doubled the area burned by wildfires since 1984. the president is changing, and the wildfires will keep burning. this isn't the first fire we've heard of and this is not - the first fire season. there is a good chancel that something like this will probably happen next year, or the year after, right? - because it is a regular thing with california. i how many more acres of forest do we have l before it isjust like, | god, there's nothing left, right? 911, state your emergency...
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good evening. after the snow that some of saw last week, this coming week is going to be dominated not by wintry weather but by wet weather. in fact, for some parts of the uk, a lot of heavy and persistent rain, which will bring the risk of flooding. through this evening and tonight, many spots will be dry, particularly down towards the southeast. a few showers for wales, northwest england and certainly some showery rain at times for northern ireland and scotland. a bit of snow mixing in over high ground across the northern half of scotland. temperatures getting quite close to freezing, most spots will hold just above. then, as we go through tomorrow, we will have this band of rain affecting parts of southern scotland, that will drift northwards back into the central belt. showers for northern scotland, some of which will be wintry, not a bad day for northern ireland, and eastern parts of england will hold onto some brightness, but for wales, the western half of england, it will turn increasingly cloudy, misty and murky with some outbreaks
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of rain at times. it's going to be turning milder down towards the southwest as well. now, as we move out of monday into tuesday, this is where things turn very wet indeed. this procession of weather fronts pushing in from the atlantic will bring relentless rain for some. that rain pushing across much of england and wales into northern ireland for a time, but it looks wettest of all across parts of northern england and over the hills of wales as well. a blustery day down towards the south, could easily see gusts of wind in excess of a0 mph for some. lighter winds further north, it will be chilly here, cold enough for some snow on the northern edge of our rain band, but further south, very, very mild indeed. but i think the rain will be of most concern. there are already met office warnings in force for much of england and wales, and this amber warning — which covers parts of the southern pennines and the peak district — this is an area where we are expecting some quite significant disruption. there could well be some flooding, and you can see the rain continues through tuesday night and into wednesday.
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so very much worth staying in touch with the weather situation. for northern ireland and scotland on wednesday, we will see some brighter weather, some spells of sunshine, but here, it will be a rather chilly day. and that chilly weather is set to win out for all of us by the end of the week, as our area of low pressure bringing the rain pulls away eastwards, it will deepen. the winds will strengthen, and those winds will start to come down from the north. so the end of the week will be colder, and there could be snow for some.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. washington dc in lockdown: the fbi warns police across the us that the threat of violence remains high ahead ofjoe biden�*s inauguration on wednesday. mass vaccinations begin at another ten centres in england from tomorrow — as the foreign secretary lays out the government's targets for the roll—out. russian police detain the kremlin critic alexei navalny, who was nearly killed by nerve agent poisoning last year, as he lands back in moscow. they sing. and the american music producer, phil spector, who helped define the sound of the 60s — has died in prison — aged 81, while serving a sentence for murder.


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