On the Edge of Raging Blazes in Imax’s Riveting ‘Wildfire’


“Wildfire: Feel the Heat” is one of the California Science Center Imax Theater’s most exciting and relevant offerings. While parents may well want to consider whether the sight of forest fires engulfing the giant screen is too intense for very young children, it is ideal for everybody else.

Director Michael Slee and writer Michael Olmert do a fine job in balancing the inherently spectacular images of fires threatening to rage out of control, with sequences showing the rugged training firefighters undergo and the different ways in which they fight various kinds of fires in forests and in open land bordering on housing tracts--the second is almost invariably started by humans, either by accident or design. (The film was shot on location in Idaho, Oregon, California and New South Wales, Australia.)

We learn the value of setting proscribed fires in forests to burn off overcrowded growth as a way of heading off gigantic blazes. We follow firefighters parachuting into wilderness to put out fires--without water--that have been started by lightning, and we watch them attempt to save mountain cabins by spraying them with foamy fire retardant. Living in Southern California, with our ongoing history of brush fires, the film has special meaning.

* Unrated. Some scenes may be too intense for very young children.


‘Wildfire: Feel the Heat’

A Discovery Pictures presentation. Director Mike Slee. Producers Richard Sattin, Phil Streather, Mick Kaczorowski. Director of photography Rodney Taylor. Writer Michael Olmert. Composer Richard Fiocca. Editor Bernard Gribble. Sound design Peter Thillaye. Narrator Andre Braugher. Running time: 40 minutes.

Exclusively at the Imax Theater, California Science Center, Exposition Park. (213) 744-2014.