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Life On Fire

Volcanoes are among the most spectacular and powerful forces on our planet. They create new land, change landscapes and destroy civilizations, but more than two billion years ago, they also breathed life into our world. From the ocean abyss to snow-covered summits, this ambitious six-part series paints a detailed picture of the struggles and amazing intimacy required to survive around volcanoes. Spectacular scenery provides the backdrop for the extraordinary animals and plants that have learned to juggle with fire. Fragile and engaging, these creatures teach us lessons in survival in a world as fascinating as it is dangerous. Narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons.

Despite a tragedy in 1993, people have returned to farm around the Mayon volcano in the Philippines.

Despite a tragedy in 1993, people have returned to farm around the Mayon volcano in the Philippines.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Hekla volcano in Iceland. Hekla is ready to erupt but its magma chamber is so deep, even for modern instruments, that it will give little warning.

Hekla volcano in Iceland. Hekla is ready to erupt but its magma chamber is so deep, even for modern instruments, that it will give little warning.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Helicopter over the crater of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.

Helicopter over the crater of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Eruption in Firmvoldulhaus, the area between the glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull in southern Iceland.

Eruption in Firmvoldulhaus, the area between the glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull in southern Iceland.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Night eruption of the Tavurvur volcano, in Papua New Guinea. This volcano has been very active since its 1994 explosion.

Night eruption of the Tavurvur volcano, in Papua New Guinea. This volcano has been very active since its 1994 explosion.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

A birdwing caterpillar munching on the ash covered vegetation, Tavurvur volcano, Papua New Guinea.

A birdwing caterpillar munching on the ash covered vegetation, Tavurvur volcano, Papua New Guinea.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

The lava lake in the crater of the Nyiragongo volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The lava lake in the crater of the Nyiragongo volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Credit: Courtesy of François de Riberolles/ Saint Thomas Productions

River of lava flowing into the sea, in Kilauea, Hawaii. When the liquid lava solidifies, it continues to build the volcano upwards.

River of lava flowing into the sea, in Kilauea, Hawaii. When the liquid lava solidifies, it continues to build the volcano upwards.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Night eruption in Kilauea, Hawaii.

Night eruption in Kilauea, Hawaii.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

Eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai, in the Tonga archipelago.

Eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai, in the Tonga archipelago.

Credit: Courtesy of Dana Stephenson

Grizzly bear in front of Augustine volcano, Alaska.

Grizzly bear in front of Augustine volcano, Alaska.

Credit: Courtesy of Mathieu Pujol/ Saint Thomas Productions

The Aniakchak caldera in Alaska. Only Thermophilic bacteria can survive in this environment, feeding essentially on sulfur that they transform into organic matter.

The Aniakchak caldera in Alaska. Only Thermophilic bacteria can survive in this environment, feeding essentially on sulfur that they transform into organic matter.

Credit: Courtesy of Mathieu Pujol/ Saint Thomas Productions

One of the few mammals to venture in the Aniakchak caldera (Alaska) is the Arctic fox.

One of the few mammals to venture in the Aniakchak caldera (Alaska) is the Arctic fox.

Credit: Courtesy of Mathieu Pujol/ Saint Thomas Productions

In contact with freshwater, sockeye salmon begin an incredible metamorphosis: the skin of their body turns red, and their head green.

In contact with freshwater, sockeye salmon begin an incredible metamorphosis: the skin of their body turns red, and their head green.

Credit: Courtesy of Mathieu Pujol/ Saint Thomas Productions

The town of Gilazpi was evacuated when Mayon Volcano erupted in December 2009. The lava solidified before reaching the town but volcanologists proved they had made an accurate diagnosis.

The town of Gilazpi was evacuated when Mayon Volcano erupted in December 2009. The lava solidified before reaching the town but volcanologists proved they had made an accurate diagnosis.

Credit: Courtesy of Saint Thomas Productions

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