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CNN 10 - August 14, 2018

CNN 10

Wildfires Scorch Parts of California; Officials Employ Facial Recognition Technology at a U.S. Airport; A CNN Hero Helps Children "Sleep in Heavenly Peace"

Aired August 14, 2018 - 04:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN 10. From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I`m Carl Azuz.

We`re getting you caught up today on something that`s caused catastrophic damage on parts of California, wildfires. Firefighters are currently battling at least 10 of them across the state. That includes the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California`s history.

Wildfires are usually named for the location or landmark near where they start and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protections says the Mendocino Complex Fire which started on July 27th could take until September to get contained. That doesn`t mean it will be out by then, but that it`s likely to be cut off, prevented from spreading further.

This fire alone has burned more than 302,000 acres in Northern California. In area, it`s larger than the city of Los Angeles. And it`s not the only one. The Carr Fire is another blaze that`s scorching the northern part of the state. Parts of Yosemite National Park in Central California have been shut down by the Ferguson Fire. And the Holy Fire, which started at Holy Jim Canyon last week has forced evacuations in Southern California.

These disasters are stretching across the state. Officials don`t know yet what caused all of them, some of them blamed on arson. What is known is that tens of thousands of people have had to flee their homes, several school districts have had to cancel classes, and dry conditions and hot temperatures have combined forces to fuel the flames.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Wildfires happened every year. This is nothing new. But what is new and very troubling is the fact that fire season is lasting longer and burning more acres.

The Forest Service even estimates that fire seasons are now 78 days longer on average than they were back in 1970. The U.S. burns twice as many acres as it did three decades ago and Forest Service scientists believe the acreage burn may double again by mid-century. This is a devastating trend and many factors have come together to create a perfect storm.

One, more and more people have moved out west and houses are being built in fire hazard zones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t realize how much my home means to me.

CHINCHAR: Engineering has allowed for people to build in beautiful and more remote wildfire prone areas. And people have added more vegetation, better known as fuel, too close to their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know what I`m going to do. I can`t think right because everyone is burned down to the ground.

CHINCHAR: Two, the wildfires are creating their own weather, making them more erratic, explosive and more difficult to predict. For example, the Carr Fire in July of 2018 had such intense heat inside those flames that it created pyrocumulus clouds. These look and act just like thunderstorms, producing lightning and powerful winds in different directions. Not only spreading the fire to additional locations, but also triggering brand new fires.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: Another factor, California had a lot of rain last year. That caused what some called a super bloom of vegetation, which in turn could help wildfires spread. There are some debate about whether climate change plays a part in this. Many scientists suspect it does.

And Michael Mohler, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, blames climate change for the current wildfires. He says there`s no other way to explain the explosive fuel conditions that come with increased winds and higher temperatures.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the wildfires have nothing to do with climate change, but instead with forest management, that California should do more to get rid of the dead and dying trees from the state`s forest before they become wildfire fuel. Regardless of the causes, if places like these continue in the years ahead, fire officials say they`ll cost California billions of dollars more to deal with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Where would you find the canthus, the glabella and the philtrum?

Are these parts of the face, the foot, the moon or the sea?

The canthus is at the corners of your eyes, the glabella is between your eyebrows and the philtrum is on your upper lip.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUBTITLE: This is the first airport in the U.S. to commit to using facing recognition technology.

Orlando International Airport will use facial recognition to process all international travelers.

Customs and Border Patrol is testing the tech at 13 major airports in the U.S.

The verification process takes less than 2 seconds to complete.

Facial recognition technology has a 99 percent matching rate, according to CBP.

JOHN WAGNER, CBP SPOKESPERSON: You know your picture is being tagged and you`re standing in front of camera, there`s nothing subversive about this.

And we`re only comparing you against your passport photo, and that`s the photo you`ve already given the government for travel.

SUBTITLE: Senators Ed Markey and Mike Lee asked the Department of Homeland Security to address "concerns".

"DHS should formalize its process and procedures for the collection of passenger data", Senators Ed Markey and Mike Lee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: The career that Luke Mickelson built for himself and eventually for thousands of kids across America started with single bunk bed in the town where he lived. That let him to found a nonprofit organization called Sleep in Heavenly Peace and that turned into dozens of chapters all across the country, dedicated to the same thing, giving kids a place to lay their heads at night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUKE MICKELSON, CNN HERO: Twin Falls is very small town community, made up of a lot of farming and agriculture. I grew up here. I`m just a farm kid from Idaho. What I didn`t know was there`s kids next door who are struggling.

When I was a youth group leader in my church, we discovered there were family in need, where they had kids sleep on the floor. So, built this bunk bed and delivered it to them.

It was such an eye-opener to me. I thought, you know what? There`s no kid that`s going to sleep on the floor in my town if I had anything to do with it.

These kids that we served, they come to us from all walks of life. People trying to get back on their feet.

Usually finding shelter, food for the kids are priority one. Beds are just a luxury for some of these families.

Hello, can you show me where your bunk beds are going to go? All right. Let`s go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had some life changes and become a single mom of five. We`re just kind of had to start all over again. I didn`t have nothing. Lived (INAUDIBLE) on a couch, sort of crashed (ph) the floor. It`s been tough.

MICKELSON: Where do you guys want the bed in here? You want it right here?

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I think we want to --

MICKELSON: When we deliver a bed, you walk in and these kids are just so excited.

We make sure that they understand that this is your bed.

Since 2012, we delivered over 1,500 bunks, help 3,000 kids get off the floor.

Come in, welcome.

The way we build bunk beds is by getting the community involved, through what we call Build Days.

We actually teach these volunteers how to build beds. They jump in and four hours later, dusty, sweaty, they got smiles on their face because they just built 40 beds.

All right. Let it rip.

When I stumbled upon this need, I had a lot of good things happening in my professional career. I was making a six-figure salary, but I fell into this need that I discovered. It wasn`t being fulfilled by anybody.

I quit my job because I wanted to do this full time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before, it was kids on mattresses on the floor, and in bed with mom, and they all had their own beds.

MICKELSON: If you want real joy, stop looking at yourself and see how you can help someone else.

These bunk beds won`t break, I promise you.

It doesn`t matter what nationality, creed, race, religion. We don`t care. We`re humans helping humans. And these are little humans and they need our help.

Sleep in heavenly peace, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MICKELSON: All right. We`ll see you. Bye-bye.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: For today`s "10 Out of 10" segment, what goes zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.5 seconds? You do, or at least you can if you`re willing to shell out $167 to become a human catapult. It`s set up over Nevis Valley, New Zealand. It`s part catapult/part bungee jump/part cheating death. And thrill seekers are propelled about 500 feet with each launch.

You can`t just walk up and take off though. You have to sign up in Queenstown and then take a bus. So, you get plenty of time to reconsider, take a sling shot at something less risky, drive a bunjeep to somewhere safer, or catapull the plug in the idea all together. You don`t want to get roped in to a thrill like that, failing to harness your fear could leave you hanging by a string, y`all.

I`m Carl Azuz and we hope you`ll bounce back for more CNN 10 tomorrow.

END