Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, and their impacts on people and ecosystems is a serious and growing issue to our region. Our communities, homes, businesses and our very way of life are threatened. If we are going to make progress towards increasing fire resiliency, we must increase awareness and stimulate conversation about this important issue across all levels of society.
The Era of Megafires is a 70-minute, multi-media, traveling presentation hosted by Dr. Paul Hessburg, who has conducted fire and landscape ecology research for more than 27 years. The presented material comes in the form of fast-moving, short, topic-based talks interspersed with compelling video vignettes and features the work of wildfire photographer, John Marshall. Think Ted X mixed with snappy documentary shorts and compelling photography. The videos are produced by award-winning documentary film company, North 40 Productions, of Wenatchee, WA.
After the screening of Era of Megafires, members of the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project will lead a Question and Answer discussion around topics that are relevant to our community in order to create local actions and answers to local challenges. Typically, different communities face different obstacles when it comes to wildfire preparedness and resilience.
The current trend in wildfires throughout the West is alarming. The past two summers have brought huge losses of homes, power grids, wastewater systems, roads, crops, tourism, jobs, emotional security, and life. The intent of this project is to significantly reduce the amount of loss we are experiencing from Megafires through education, community action, and policy change.
“The goal of the project is to help communities understand the issues surrounding Megafires so that they can better participate in the conversation and begin driving towards solutions,” said Jeff Ostenson, Director of the project. “I do believe we can change the way we receive wildfire and related smoke but it’s going to take everyone playing their part.”
The Presentation debuted at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center on August 30, 2016. A Northwest tour of the presentation will follow making stops in approximately 20+ communities this fall and winter across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia.