Presenting Fireforest

Forest restoration has been one of my passions since my job at The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, but since moving to Colorado, I haven’t had a concrete way to support it. That changed after the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire, Colorado’s largest wildfire in recorded history. During those days of orange skies, I read and heard so many laments about how the forest had been destroyed. While the fire was an understandably distressing experience, I didn’t see the full story being told, the story of why this was happening, how not all of it was inherently bad, and what needs to be done to resolve the root issues. So I decided I would try to.

In the wintry, locked-down days of the pandemic, I used my spare time to plan out a long-term multimedia project about the Cameron Peak Fire and what it tells us about forest restoration in Colorado. The forests are telling us something extremely urgent, but not everyone’s hearing them. So I wrote up a proposal, pitched it to some potential partners and funders, revised it, and to my amazement, got it fully funded.

Landscape of burnt and unburnt montane forest.
This diversity of fire effects has not been fairly portrayed since the Cameron Peak Fire.

After months of research, planning, scouting, and fieldwork, I’m thrilled to present Fireforest, an exploration of forest fire and restoration in northern Colorado. The project’s goals are to help Coloradans understand that fire is an essential part of the solution to megafires, that fire is a natural part of Colorado’s forests, and that forests have a natural ability to recover from it. It also aims to help Coloradans understand that not all fire is the same, and the right kind can promote forest health. At the same time, severe fires do threaten the existence of Colorado’s forests. So additionally, this project advocates for the urgent need to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration.

I aim to do this by using photography and videography to show the complexities of fire ecology and the positive impacts of forest restoration. So far, this has involved building a longterm timelapse camera, working on a photo essay of the Cameron Peak Fire’s impacts, establishing repeat photo points, and filming a story about how forest restoration helped save a property during the fire.

Prescribed fire is essential for restoring forest health and resilience to wildfire.

It’s been an extremely consuming project, which is why I’ve been publishing a lot less than normal this year, but it’s also exactly what I’ve been searching for in my creative work.

Forests in Colorado and most of western North America are in desperate need of help. There needs to be a drastic shift in the way the public understands them and the fires that created them. I’m so excited to be helping drive that shift, and grateful for the support of the Mighty Arrow Family Foundation, Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, City of Fort Collins Utilities, Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative, Peaks to People, American Wildfire Experience, Platte Basin Timelapse, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Poudre Valley REA.

Please join me on this journey by following Fireforest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Categories ColoradoTags ,

4 thoughts on “Presenting Fireforest

  1. Congratulations Evan. What a great project. Please keep Audubon in the loop Joan and the Monday work group.

    Sent from Outlook

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks, Joan! So nice to hear from you.

      Like

  2. Barbara MacKinnon de Montes December 8, 2021 — 7:05 pm

    Hi Evan, You are certainly taking advantage of every opportunity to create and learn more about nature. Thanks for keeping in touch. Muchos saludos, Barbara

    El jue, 2 dic 2021 a las 9:02, The Naturalist Lens () escribió:

    > Evan Barrientos posted: ” Forest restoration has been one of my passions > since my job at The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, but since moving to > Colorado, I haven’t had a concrete way to support it. That changed after > the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire, Colorado’s largest wildfire in recor” >

    Like

    1. Thanks, Barbara. Nice to hear from you.

      Like

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