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Holiday Shopping and Inflation; Hawaii`s Mauna Loa is Erupting; Drones that Fight Fire. Aired 4-4:10A ET

Aired November 29, 2022 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Terrific Tuesday to you. I`m Coy Wire.

And we`ve got a rendezvous with the news, so let`s go.

We`re going to begin with news on the economy regarding the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday season, traditionally a big season for

shopping as well. This year, many shoppers are returning to their pre- pandemic routines, going back nearly three years now. Shoppers are expected to shop big around some key dates like Black Friday last week, but they`re

also predicted to make major purchases later in the shopping season, hoping to land deals.

This year, inflation has limited many shoppers budgets though. But retailer experts say that customers are pulling back on discretionary spending like

furniture and electronics and are being more selective about what they buy. Many Americans are dipping into their savings accounts and racking up debt

to make purchases as well. They`re also utilizing services like buy now pay later, which is a type of installment loan people might use instead of a

traditional credit card.

Let`s break it down by the numbers. Online, Black Friday sales in the United States topped a record-breaking $9 billion this year, and were over

two percent higher compared to last year. U.S. shoppers spent a record $5.29 billion on Thanksgiving Day, up nearly 3 percent from a year ago.

Experts are predicting that American shoppers spent more than $9.5 billion across Saturday and Sunday, and that Monday will be the biggest online

shopping day again, growing more than five percent from last year to $11 billion. But some of that growth reflects higher prices, not necessarily

higher volume, due to inflation this year.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSIENESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this year`s holiday shopping menu, more sales but with a healthy side of


DENISE SALLETTE, HOLIDAY SHOPPER: Cutting off your circulation. I`m going crazy.

YURKEVICH: Denise Sallette is in the middle of her holiday shopping at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey.

SALLETTE: This is for my mom. And then I got stuff for my kids and my niece and, oh my God.

YURKEVICH: This year, the wish list is looking a little different. Last month, inflation cooled but was still running hot at 7.7 percent year-over-


SALLETTE: I`ve had a cutback on shopping because things are too expensive. I mean, I do have three girls. They do understand that, you know, times are

hard right now and it`s just me being a single mom.

YURKEVICH: Despite high inflation, the National Retail Federation estimates that nearly 8 million more people will shop between Black Friday

and Cyber Monday and spend up to eight percent more this year than they did last year.

MATTHEW SHAY, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: We`re looking at records in all categories. It is remarkable in the face of the cost and the

price pressures that consumers are still finding a way to increase their spending power the economy, drive economic activity.

YURKEVICH: Last month, retail sales beat expectations, up 1.3 percent in October. But this month, consumer sentiment fell. Still, higher prices

haven`t stopped some people from shopping.

Has that impacted the way you`re going to spend this holiday season?

CYNTHIA PENDELTON, HOLIDAY SHOPPER: For me, not really because I try not to overspend anyways. So even before this is going on, I try not to exceed

what I can do.

YURKEVICH: And according to the National Retail Federation, while online sales are expected to increase this year, a return to in-store shopping

will make up a larger portion of all holiday sales.

PENDELTON: I kind of like in person more.

YURKEVICH: You do wise up.

PENDELTON: I don`t know. It`s just more of the feel of being able to touch it, being able to see it, being able to try it on for the stores that you

allow to, and then being amongst everybody else.

YURKEVICH: It`s that holiday nostalgia that Willowbrook Mall says will help this year`s shopping season return to pre-pandemic expectations.



WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

What group of islands is the most isolated population center in the world?

The Galapagos, The Solomon Islands, Hawaii, or The British Isles?

Answer is Hawaii. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. state is over 2,000 miles from California, nearly 4,000 miles from Japan.


WIRE: Up next, the world`s largest active volcano. The Mauna Loa in Hawaii, it`s erupting for the first time in nearly years. The eruption is

prompting an ash fall advisory for Hawaii`s big island and surrounding waters.

The good news, there`s no evacuation notice at this time. Lava flows are contained in the summit area and are not threatening to harm downslope

communities according to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

The bad news is asphalt from the volcano could damage vehicles and buildings, contaminate water supplies, disrupt sewage and electrical

systems. It could even damage or kill vegetation.

Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843 and covers half of the island of Hawaii and it`s only 21 miles west of one of the most active volcanoes in

the world, Kilauea, which is also currently erupting. When it erupted in 2018, it destroyed more than 700 homes.

All right. From lava to dragon eggs. There`s new drone technology that`s improving an effective technique used to prevent wildfires, right? But it

might not be what you think, not a soaring fire extinguisher or a water dropping drone. They`re drones that drop fire in the form of, quote, dragon

eggs to perform something called prescribed burning or starting a fire in order to avoid one later.

But some experts say that the technique is dangerous for firefighters.

CNN business producer Jon Sarlin is here with more.


JON SARLIN, CNN BUSINESS PRODUCER: This fireball-dropping drones are improving one of the oldest and most effective ways of preventing extreme

wildfires, prescribed burning.

CARRICK DETWEILER, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, DRONE AMPLIFIED: Prescribed fires basically work by doing a very low intensity burn that will burn up the

dead leaves and sticks that would cause major wildfires when they dry out later in the summer. We can reduce these huge wildfires by using more fire

when it`s safe to do so.

SARLIN: Many experts say prescribed burning should be used more often but it can be dangerous for firefighters.

DETWEILER: They`re often hiking out into the middle of mountains with a drip torch or they`re riding an ATV and then you have helicopters with the

whole crew on board flying really low and slow over the fire about a quarter of all while then firefighting fatalities are related to aviation.

And for me, this really was a motivation to get these systems into the hands of firefighters.

SARLIN: Robotics researcher Carrick Detweiler started his company Drone Amplified to make prescribed fires safer, easier, and less expensive.

DETWEILER: Our system doesn`t cover the amount of area that a helicopter can, but you can deploy tens or hundreds of our systems for the same cost

as a helicopter.

SARLIN: On a 50-pound drone, Carrick secures a device that can carry 400 fireballs that ignite when they land on the ground.

DETWEILER: We call these dragon eggs. They have potassium permanganate when you mix it with glycol, it starts a chemical reaction and a fire.

SARLIN: The drones allow firefighters to work at a distance from the flames and areas difficult to reach due to terrain or visibility.

DETWEILER: And this is really doubling the amount of time that firefighters can fight the fire when it`s dark, when it`s smoky, when other

airplanes can`t be out there. You can drop the balls in specific locations and this lets you do much more precise burns.

SARLIN: Precision is important, because even though prescribed burn escapes are extremely rare, the outcome can be devastating.

Two recent controlled burns in New Mexico led to the state`s largest wildfire on record.

DETWEILER: Our system can help prevent escaped fires through the use of thermal cameras.

You can see through smoke and look for any fires outside of the fire boundary.

Our app also allows the firefighter to put in geofences to precisely control where the fire is starting and this lets the firefighters actually

control the intensity of the fire.

SARLIN: Carrick says a hundred of their drone systems are now working for clients like the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies. But in the

future, they envisioned similar systems in the back of every firefighter`s truck.

DETWEILER: When firefighters are widely deploying these, we`ll really be able to get up to doing more prescribed fire that`s needed to mitigate

these wildfires.


WIRE: Next up, we`re taking a journey to the far side of the moon, and it all starts with a selfie. NASA`s Orion spacecraft snapped a selfie as it

approached the moon. The spacecraft was eight days into its and a half day mission at the time. The journey will go more than forty thousand miles

beyond the far side of the moon and if Orion completes its journey, it`ll be the farthest a spacecraft intended to carry humans has ever traveled.

This selfie was snapped with a camera, on one of the capsule`s solar panels. Pretty cool if I do say so myselfie.

And now on to my favorite part of the day. Special shout out to Calhoun Middle School in Denton, Texas. We see you.

Today, November 29th is Giving Tuesday. Every year on a Tuesday after Thanksgiving, people take time to give back. Whether that`s donating money

or lending a helping hand or maybe you could just go out of your way to make someone smile today.

Let`s make this a great one, everyone. I`m Coy and this is CNN 10.